‘Grown-ish’ confronts toxic masculinity, homophobia in Black community
Grown-ish cast members

Freeform’s show Grown-ish, has done it again–go places most other sitcoms dare to treat. This week’s episode of the hit show that follows the lives of college-aged Gen Z’ers navigating their way through the journey of adulthood, confronted the issues of homophobia and toxic masculinity.

A spin-off of the hit ABC comedy Black-ish, Grown-ish follows Zoe (Yara Shahidi) and her circle of friends. Grown-ish has gained a reputation for tackling issues of the time. The latest episode (“Know Yourself”) of the show called by some as this generation’s A Different World, one of the male characters, Vivek (Jordan Buhat) confesses that he and his girlfriend have experimented with a threesome, but not the threesome his friends, Aaron (Trevor Jackson) and Doug (Diggy Simmons) were hoping to get the details about.

Grown-ish cast members

Vivek and his girlfriend engage in the threesome with another male, setting up the characters’ ongoing conversation throughout the episode that spotlights homophobia and toxic masculinity. 

The episode’s co-writer, Des Moran, who identifies as Black and queer, said, “I wanted to tell a story about a heterosexual that had this experimentation and came out of it saying I’m still very confident in my sexuality and I’m a straight man.”

Grown-ish is just one show in the current landscape of television that has visibly out and open LGBTQ+ identifying characters. According to GLAAD in its annual study of character representation on television, 9.1% of series regular characters scheduled to appear on broadcast scripted primetime television this season are LGBTQ. That number is down one percentage point from last year’s record-setting year of LGBTQ representation. 

“I feel like there is still this huge stigma around sexuality and especially male sexuality and it goes even deeper when you factor in Black men,” says Moran. 

Grown-ish airs Thursday nights on Freeform and streams the next day on Hulu.