The black cast of “This Is Us” reflects on the series

When It’s us created in 2016, no one could have predicted how fervent the fan response would be or how desperately we would all need to spend an hour a week (or several hours in a row) with the Pearson family for the next six years. It’s not just that the show, starring Brown, Justin Hartley as Kevin and Chrissy Metz as Kate as the now-iconic Big Three, their parents Jack and Rebecca (Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore), debuted months before an election that would dramatically reveal parts of America the ugliest or that as part of the show there would be a whole ass pandemic and a global racial calculus that would change the way some spoke about race aloud and on purpose. It’s also that It’s us gave us a family for years where many people walked away from their own – whether it was for politics, vaccination status, distance, take your pick. The series was a balm during the Bad Times, and its brightest light was its blackest characters (thanks in large part to two black women, writer Eboni Freeman and executive producer and director Kay Oyegun). In 2017, TV Guide called The Black Pearsons “a bold and defining moment in television and culture.” But the boldest thing Randall, Beth and their daughters ever did was to be aggressively normal, extremely authentic, oddly relatable. and Black… OK with the drama dialed up to 100.
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