Yara Shahidi On The 'Group Decision' To End 'Black-Ish' And The Show's Legacy
Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison

Yara Shahidi On The 'Group Decision' To End 'Black-Ish' And The Show's Legacy

Yara Shahidi said that the legacy black-ish leaves behind after eight seasons has added even more Black storytellers and producers to Hollywood.

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In a red carpet interview with Variety at the MTV Movie & TV Awards, Shahidi was asked by Variety how she felt about the popular ABC show ending after its eighth season. Shahidi said that the decision to end the show was a “group decision.”

“It was known already before we even wrapped this last season because it was a group decision. I think the executive producers, which are the main characters [Lawrence Fishburne, Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson], knew that this was happening,” she said. “I think what has been important to even [creator/EP] Kenya [Barris] from the beginning of the show was not to remain static or stagnant, which is part of even why Zoey got her spinoff, coming from this feeling of not wanting to have a character sit there for the sake of sitting there, but to be authentic to the journey of growing up.”

“Very similarly, I think the ending of black-ish is because we’ve been able to explore so many incredible storylines and we’re at a place where we’re continuing to grow,” she continued. “And after eight years with the Johnson family, I feel like they’ve done such a beautiful job of honoring our audience with the stories we tell, and now we’re just going to come to a beautiful, neat close.”

Shahidi also said she is “consistently” shocked by how the show’s legacy has added to the conversation about representation in the media.

“…[W]e didn’t know whether one [person] would watch, a million people would watch…whether they were going to be receptive to the topic matter, particularly in those first seasons,” she continued. “To think about the space that black-ish has created, not just in terms of content, but really in terms of the people it’s helped usher along into this industry, from writers and directors.

“I was just talking to my TV grandpops Lawrence Fishburne about this, but I think what’s most incredible about black-ish is the ripple effect of opportunities created and other shows that were created and other mega-producers and actors and directors that blossomed from this one thing,” she said. “The end of black-ish isn’t the end of content like this, but it’s just the beginning.”

Shahidi is one of those producers who has been able to launch her producing career from black-ish. Shahidi and her mom/business partner Keri have signed an overall deal with ABC Studios to develop and produce TV projects through their company, 7th Sun.

Black-ish announced the series’ end after it was renewed for its eighth season. As Shadow And Act reported May 14, Barris wrote about the renewal on Instagram, writing in part, “In this day and age it is rare to get to decide when your show should come to an end, and we are grateful along with ABC to be able to make this final season exactly what we’d hoped for–and to do it with the entire and AMAZINGLY STELLAR cast coming back to close this chapter out with us the right way!” One of black-ish‘s spinoff series, mixed-ish, has been cancelled, meaning two of Barris’ -ish universe has come to an end.

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

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