NBC News

By: Syreeta McFadden

April 17, 2020

Black comedy made for mainstream audiences necessarily contextualizes blackness for white people because the conception of black people in America (and as represented in film and television) is rooted in virulent misconceptions of black humanity. As a result, black people end up explaining themselves to themselves — and by extension, we are telling white people who they are, because they created and maintained those misconceptions.

As entertaining as “#blackAF” is in many moments, though — and the most relatable bits for the vast majority of African American audiences will be the touchstones and celebration of Black identity like Juneteenth, signatures of Barris’ other works — the show is mostly just escapism for millions of African Americans who will never know such opulent abundance. The wealth gap between black and white Americans is a grand canyon: The median wealth for white families is just over $100,000, while the median wealth for black families is $10,000, according to a recent study by Duke University professor William Darity and others.

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