According to Deadline, a spinoff series based on Blackish character, Zoey Johnson, portrayed by Yara Shahidi, is in the works at ABC. While there is no deal or scripts developed yet, the plan is to continue Zoey’s storyline into college. Fans of the Cosby Show will remember that this is exactly what happened with Lisa Bonet’s character, Denise Huxtable, which spawned the highly revered A Different World series. All we can hope for at this time is that this show actually gets a series order and Yara Shahidi doesn’t leave the show after one season.
Deadline is reporting that series creator, Kenya Barris, and contributor to the first season, Larry Wilmore, are working together to develop this series. The latter recently had his own spinoff show, The Nightly Show, cancelled by Comedy Central. Wilmore also helped create and develop Issa Rae’s HBO series, Insecure, which was met with rave reviews. Despite his shortcomings, Larry Wilmore definitely has the talent and comedic skills to help make this potential series a success.
Blackish was one of the first steps we’ve had recently towards bringing Blackness back to mainstream television. It had been a while since we had a popular sitcom starring a Black family on television, but this show broke that unfortunate dry spell. In the past Golden Globes, Tracee Ellis Ross won the award for “Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy TV Series” for her role as Rainbow Johnson on the show. It has also been nominated for many Emmy’s, so there’s little doubt that this spinoff, if it is called to series, would also be a success.
“[Wilmore] had an original idea for a college comedy, which was melded with the plan for a Zoey Black-ish spinoff.” –Deadline
Many people are welcoming this news partly because of their love for A Different World, their love for Blackish, and their love Yara Shahidi. Shahidi has been very vocal about her political views and the treatment of Black people in the United States both socially and culturally. With her spearheading her own series it would be interesting to see how that aspect of her could be incorporated into the show. Blackish already doesn’t shy from being political and addressing racism, but the setting of college would be a great way to address a different aspect of that.
It being a show about younger people, this would also be a great opportunity for there to be more young people of color on TV. A Different World sent Lisa Bonet to an HBCU, however times have changed and people would most likely want to see the difficulties of a Black woman surviving at a PWI. Whichever angle the series chooses to take, people are definitely eager to tune in and see what’s in store for their favorite characters in the coming years.