The highly anticipated “Black-ish” spin-off, “Grown-ish,” debuted on FreeForm Wednesday, Jan. 3 and viewers were delighted. Starring Yara Shahidi as Zoey Johnson navigating her way through college at Cal U. Much like its parent series, the two episodes focused on real issues — including drug use.
While the first episode primarily focused on Zoey meeting new friends and taking an oddly timed drone night class, the second one explored her struggle to balance her social life and classes. When it comes down to the need to concentrate on writing a 25-page paper, Zoey buckles down and pops an Adderall. And while it doesn’t work out so well with the paper, she managed to drop $3,000 on shoes before nodding off. Still, the blue pill helps her get the job done with the paper the next night.
As such, depiction on both episodes won praise from college-aged viewers who felt it accurately depicted university life.
I appreciate that #Grownish is real about what college life is about.
It has the class and people. It also has the partying, drinking, and drug use.
And Yara curses.
— Tile Thrower (@kidnoble) January 4, 2018
#Grownish just explained college in one line: “Everyone acts like they have it all together when we don’t have it all together “ 😭
— Imani Steele (@I_Steele_) January 4, 2018
— Camyl 👑💋 (@CammyBxoxo) January 4, 2018
— 𝙷𝚞𝚜𝚔𝚢𝚅𝚎𝚐𝚎𝚝𝚊𝚛𝚒𝚊𝚗 (@HuskyBro_Inc) January 4, 2018
— ❤ CruciallyLuv ❤ (@Cgaski3) January 4, 2018
Yara Shahidi In the News
But ahead of the season premiere, folks expressed their displeasure with the overwhelming representation of light-skinned Black stars.
Grown-ish feels like the first season of A Different World all over again… they gave the boring aesthetically pleasing light skinned girl a spin off and casted a bunch of other light folk and honestly….. I’m #tiredt
— big sagittarius energy (@tylasade) January 3, 2018
everyone in grown-ish is the same fenty shade
— pro-abortion. (@sweetsones) January 4, 2018
In December, one person even said they won’t tune into the show because of Shahidi’s apparent racial ambiguity.
Shahidi didn’t let the criticism fall on deaf ears. She addressed the tweet head-on on her own account.
Now, we can have a separate conversation on the ever present colorism and the monolithic black aesthetic on TV of 3c hair and lighter skin…
— Yara shahidi (@YaraShahidi) December 14, 2017