Hilarious Q&A with ‘black-ish’ Stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross

"black-ish" stars Anthony Anderson as Andre "Dre" Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow Johnson. (Photo: Kelsey McNeal)

It wasn’t quite the interview I expected but it was a good one nonetheless.

Tuesday morning I conducted a phoner with “black-ish” stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross to discuss the midseason return and the show’s family dynamics. 

Before I could even greet the actors, Anderson serenaded me with “Isn’t She Lovely,” Stevie Wonder’s 1970s ode to his then-newborn daughter Aisha Morris. I was quite surprised. I told him that people usually belt out Another Bad Creation’s (ABC) 1990s hit “Iesha” upon first meeting me. Not one to be outdone,  Anderson sang a few of those verses, too. Ellis Ross erupted into laughter. At this point, I was completely  speechless. 

In case you spent last fall under a rock, “black-ish” is a half-hour comedy starring Anderson as Andre “Dre” Johnson, a successful advertising executive who is concerned that his four children are losing their cultural identity living in an affluent, predominantly white Los Angeles community.Ellis Ross plays his wife RainbowLaurence Fishburne plays his father Pops and Jenifer Lewis plays his mother Ruby

Previous episodes provided us with a sense of everyone's personalities, including showing that Ruby can be a bit overbearing and often clashes with Rainbow over how she runs her household. In the midseason return, titled, "Laws of  Attraction,”  Dre thinks Rainbow is questioning his machismo after another man dismisses him in front of her (ouch!) and Ruby, impressed by Pops coming to Dre’s rescue, is drawn to him again, resulting in the seniors reigniting their love affair, an ABC press release states. Hmm, this should be good.  

Sure, Anderson commandeered a good portion of the 10-minute interview telling jokes but I was able to get a couple of good nuggets out of the two. Check out the the Q&A below and then watch the midseaon finale of "black-ish." It airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET.

In the midseaon return, it seems that Ruby and Pops have a love connection.

ANDERSON: I’m not going to really say it’s a love connection with the two. It’s a connection. We may say lust but love has left that relationship a long time ago.  You also get a better understanding of my character Dre, I think, by knowing who his parents are, and seeing what he doesn’t want for his children in the future.

Will we ever know Pops’ real name?  “Sex and the City” didn’t reveal Big’s real name until the series finale.

ANDERSON: We may have an Internet or social media contest about Pops' real name where we select a name from viewers. We would pick that name and fly the winner to our set. So it is something that we are working on. Until then, you'll just have to refer to Mr. Fishburne as Pops.

Tracee, Rainbow's mother is black and her father is white. Any chance that your real-life mother Diana Ross could play Rainbow's mom?

ELLIS ROSS: Who will be playing Rainbow’s mother will be a surprise and when it comes, you will enjoy it.

ANDERSON: It will be this month that we shoot this episode. It will be a big surprise. It ain’t gonna be her real-life momma, Aisha. 

Anthony, a few of the storylines on "black-ish" are inspired by your real-life family. Did you have to get their permission to include certain things?

ANDERSON: I am the father of my children. I don’t need their permission to share the stories that go on in my household. I did not get their permission. I'm sort of a dictator in my house; there's no democracy whatsoever. They knew what this show was going to be about from its inception and they knew that I would be drawing upon our life to tell these stories. Permission wasn’t needed not granted; I just do it.

Tracee, you have great comedic timing. What do you think of some of the comedic actresses on TV?

ELLIS ROSS: I think we have some extraordinary comedic actresses that live on television and I’m very happy to be having an opportunity to do comedy on TV myself. 


Watch: “black-ish” midseason finale



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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.