For its 100th episode, which aired Tuesday night, hit ABC sitcom black-ish paid tribute to none other than Prince. The episode was highly anticipated by black-ish fans, who appreciate the show’s incisive takes on African-American history and culture.
The episode kicked off with twins Jack and Diane talking about a girl Jack liked, when they heard the rest of their family jamming out to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” in the kitchen.
“Guys, we have Spotify Premium, we can afford the skips,” Diane said, followed by Jack asking, “Who is that lady singing?”
Shocked by the fact that the twins didn’t know who who Prince was, family patriarch Dre called a family meeting and the episode ended up being a history lesson for the twins. Members of the family talked about Prince’s legacy and the impact he had on all of their lives, from becoming more politically active for Zoey to Pops for demanding fair pay for his work and Ruby finding strength in Prince’s music as she dealt with the struggles of being a single mother.
— black-ish (@blackishabc) November 14, 2018
It’s no surprise that the series would choose to honor Prince for its 100th episode, since a few of the cast members have personal connections to the music legend in real life. Yara Shahidi, who plays Zoey Johnson, grew up with Prince as a family friend — her dad, Afshin Shahidi, was Prince’s longtime photographer. Anthony Anderson, who plays Dre Johnson, got invited to a private party Prince once had and made him laugh at one of his jokes. Tracee Ellis Ross, who plays Bow, also met Prince backstage at one of his concerts with her mom Diana Ross.
As Dre tried to get Jack and Diane to understand just how important Prince was in both music history and African-American history, he began to realize that it might not be easy to force a generation that didn’t grow up with Prince to like him. After failing to get the twins to listen to his music, he tells them the story of how Prince gave him the courage to overcome what he thought was a terrible first date with his wife Bow.
Then came the part many fans had been looking forward to: the musical tributes to Prince. In just a half-hour black-ish managed to feature seven of Prince’s songs, as each of the cast members had their own moment to act as Prince. The songs performed were “Kiss,” “Erotic City,” “Sign O’ the Times,” “Sexy MF,” “When Doves Cry,” “Purple Rain,” and “Nothing Compares 2 U.”
— Blackish Writers (@BlackishWriters) November 14, 2018
The episode ended with Jack, who thought he was certain he didn’t like Prince, coming around after the song “Kiss” helped him achieve the confidence to talk to talk to the girl he liked. He ran out into the backyard where his parents were sitting, telling them that he finally got Prince, and the entire family sang along to “Nothing Compares 2 U”
Going back to work on Monday, Dre told two of his white coworkers about what it was like to share Prince’s music with his kids. When neither of the coworkers knew who Prince was, Dre’s coworker Charlie showed up in the cloud suit and started to try and act out “Raspberry Beret,” but it didn’t work out so well as it did with the twins.
Below, check out a playlist of all the episode’s Prince performances.
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.