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‘Black-ish’ to pay tribute to Prince with 100th episode

Deon Cole, who plays Charlie Telphy, dressed as Prince in 'Black-ish'

The ABC sitcom black-ish will be celebrating its 100th episode with a tribute to Prince. The series, which explores issues around race and class in the United States and how it applies to African-American families, is a hit that’s now in its fifth season. The episode airs Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. Eastern / 8 p.m. Central.

The series producers worked with Prince’s estate to get access to his music library. The episode will be about the music legend’s impact on the Johnson family (the family at the center of the show), with performances of songs like “When Doves Cry,” “Kiss,” and “Let’s Go Crazy” done by the cast, according to Entertainment Weekly.

While gaining access to Prince’s music library might be a difficult task for other T.V. shows and movies, it’s no surprise that black-ish got permission to perform the songs, since one of its cast members has a special connection to Prince.

Actress Yara Shahidi, who plays Zoey Johnson, was born in Minneapolis and grew up with Prince as a family friend of sorts. Her dad, Afshin Shahidi, was Prince’s longtime photographer, and there’s even a picture he took of her at one of his concerts hanging in Prince’s office. When Shahidi’s first movie, Imagine That, came out, Prince rented a theater so that everyone she knew could watch it; after black-ish first started, Prince sent Shahidi an email telling her that he was proud of her and that her character was one of his favorites in the show.

This Prince-themed episode won’t be the show’s first venture into the music world. The show, which is known for covering controversial topics, dedicated an episode to Juneteenth, a celebration of the day when all slaves were finally freed in the United States on June 19, 1865. Inspired by Hamilton and Schoolhouse Rock, the episode was well-received.

Black-ish is the second TV series to do an episode in honor of Prince. Last year Empire also aired a tribute to Prince that featured performances by some of the musicians in his bands and appearances by family members (including his sister Tyka Nelson) at a Prince-themed birthday party. The music legend himself also appeared on talk shows and some TV episodes, guest starring on New Girl in 2014.

Simone Cazares is a student at Saint Paul College. Originally from Miami, Fla., she survives Minnesota’s cruel winters by immersing herself in the Twin Cities music scene.