ABC/Craig Sjodin, Getty Images
A never-aired episode of Black-ish from three years ago has just now been made available to watch on Hulu. Announcing the news over Instagram on Monday, the show's creator, Kenya Barris, explained that the episode, "Please, Baby, Please," which is a lens into Trump's America, was originally shot in November of 2017 and was scheduled to air in February 2018—before it was (controversially) pulled from ABC's schedule.
At the time, network representatives claimed there were "creative differences," and that pulling the episode was a "mutual decision" between Barris and the network, Vanity Fair reports. However, there was wide speculation about the reasoning for the censorship, with some believing the episode was pulled because of the controversy surrounding NFL athletes kneeling in protest at the time.
"We were one year post-election and coming to the end of a year that left us, like many Americans, grappling with the state of our country and anxious about its future," Barris wrote on Instagram this week. "Those feelings poured onto the page, becoming 22 minutes of television that I was, and still am, incredibly proud of."
Anthony Anderson, one of the show's leads and executive producers, told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018 that Barris had given his "blood, sweat, and tears" to the episode, which the network had "signed off on every step of the way." Though he didn't seem to know exactly what happened behind the scenes, Anderson expressed his disappointment about the decision to pull the episode, adding, "I don’t know what those conversations were, but we entered into this partnership with the understanding that we would be able to tell the stories that we wanted to tell."
Now, the public can finally find out exactly what stories Barris and the Black-ish writers were trying to tell.
"I cannot wait for everyone to finally see the episode for themselves and, as was the case nearly three years ago, we hope it inspires some much-needed conversation -- not only about what we were grappling with then or how it led to where we are now, but conversations about where we want our country to go moving forward and, most importantly, how we get there together," Barris said.
The powerful new trailer for the episode, which Barris shared below, features footage from the Civil Rights Era, Barack Obama's presidency, Trump's inauguration, and even the recent protests that followed George Floyd's death.
The episode itself, as Vanity Fair reports, is set around a bedtime story that Anderson's character reads to his son about the year after Trump's election. The title, "Please, Baby, Please," was inspired by the Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee children’s book of the same name.
"Thank you to ABC Entertainment for allowing this moment to happen," Barris wrote about the episode release. "And thank you to the entire 'black-ish' family for never shying away from tough conversations, making telling stories like this possible."