Review: #blackAF Created by Kenya Barris; Netflix

#blackAF Created by Kenya Barris; Netflix; First episode date: April 17, 2020
Television Shorts

#blackAF: #broadAF and #messyAF. It is what you get when art is well-crafted versus manicured. Usually when creators get so technically astute in their medium, the tendency is to present what is, in essence, perfect little products. #blackAF goes way away from that. The series layers many styles on top of each other: mockumentary, reality TV, family sitcom and a historical narrative that is presented in documentary fashion. The episodes cover a broad range of topics with no delineation whether this is a straight shot, satire or parody.

The first four episodes deal directly with the "white gaze" and truthfully it took me halfway through the second episode to buy in. By the fifth episode, #blackAF affirmatively answers the question with a resounding: If the creator of the product or the product itself is rooted and knowledgeable of black culture then they deserve our support. 

What makes this most effective is the addendum that is added and how the white gaze is turned upon itself. From there, the final three episodes firmly focus on the family - the parenting and the marriage. With the shackles fully off -  on really the viewer#blackAF presents the freest representation of a black family ever shown on television.

It is full of terrible parenting, a marriage filled with constant sniping and more. What makes this spectacular is how the show tackles gender confusion, doubts on sexual identity, toxic masculinity, rabid feminism and more without turning into a navel-gazing exercise.

As much as I would watch a second season, #blackAF is the equivalent of walk-off home run in black creativity. 

Recommendation: HIGHEST

Reviewed by Guichard Cadet