The Black Cast Of ‘This Is Us’ Look Back On The Series

In those early seasons, so much of the way This Is Us discusses race is in relation to Randall being a Black kid in a white family, a Black teen at a white school, a Black man in a white world. But in the family he builds with Beth, their Blackness isn’t contrasted against anything else. They just get to be. And the way they are — supportive, stern, respectful, funny, communicative, vulnerable, honest, understanding — is the antithesis of the typical picture of Black parenting we were largely sold on TV and film before them (with a few exceptions). The Black Pearsons never spoke down to us. Or told us how to be Black. Or acted as a shining beacon of Black representation meant to prove our humanity. They simply showed us a family of flawed, complicated, sometimes messy individuals whose love for one another was never up for debate. Even with all of the show’s twists and turns, devastating deaths, and time-hopping storylines, Beth, Randall, Tess, Annie and later, their adopted daughter Deja (Lyric Ross), persevere as a family unit. Their bond — like the need for a box of tissues every Tuesday night — was the show’s one constant unwavering good thing. 

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