Ah, it took a little longer than expected, but Black-ish finally got to it tonight: the “hair” episode.
As Dre tells us during the requisite preamble, hair care is one of the most important facets of his life. He even has a list to prove it:
List of Things Most Important to Andre Johnson:
3) My Mama
4) Clean Sneakers
“In the black community, hair is everything,” he explains. “Hair helped put black people on the map.” He cites Madam C.J. Walker, who he tells us became “the first black millionaire” thanks to her beauty-product innovation. (There’s some dispute as to who America’s first black millionaire actually was, though she is generally cited as the first female self-made millionaire.)
Nevertheless, Dre takes us through a short history of his own personal hairstyles throughout the years: the Baby Baldy, the Fourth-Grade Flattop, the Sixth-Grade S-Curl, and the Graduation Gumby, the Twenties Twisties, the First-Time Father Fro, and his current look, the Funky-Fresh.
But good hair doesn’t just happen to you. It all goes down at the barbershop, that all-important community cornerstone filled with zany characters. We get a Goodfellas-esque introduction to the guys populating Dre’s favorite shop. There’s conspiracy-loving Ta-Ta, list-loving Scootie, the fist-fight-loving Mike. So much love! Most importantly, there’s T., Dre’s lifelong barber — who he hopes will become his sons’ lifelong barber as well.
Not so fast, though. There’s a new guy on the scene, and his name is Smoke. He’s got some “baby-mama drama” with his girl LaTonka, but they’re working on it. But the real headline is that he’s successfully poaches Junior from the Dre’s camp.
Dre snaps. His son is “violating the most sacred of codes.” He’s switching chairs.
When Dre and Junior return home, there’s a noticeable shift in the power dynamics. Thanks to his trendy new look, Junior gets a grand reception. He’s a hit! Not only does Bow dig it, but Zoey thinks it’s just cool enough for him to start acknowledging her at school (though not cool enough for her to acknowledge him back).
Dre’s weirdly angular new hairstyle, on the other hand, receives a much cooler reception. He looks like some sort of crooked simpleton, and his family rightly treats him as such.
This is bad news for Bow, who doesn’t need any added drama in her life right now. She’s busy arranging the annual family Christmas-card photo (think gingerbread-cookie costumes), but the stress has become too much for her to handle. Grandma Ruby smells a chance to play her favorite game: trolling Bow. Ruby decides to take over planning duties for Bow, and her first order of business is a new theme: “elegance.”
But since Johnson Family Rules dictate that one member’s decision must always strike fear and panic into another member, Diane is not pleased by the news. She’s concerned that having to look elegant will expose just how inelegant the family is. She plants herself firmly in favor of tacky costumes, while Zoey joins Team Elegance.
NEXT: Ruby decides the family photo should look like Empire