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Why Black-ish Chose A Stevie Wonder Song For The Johnsons' Emotional Last Scene In The Series Finale

Black-ish cast on ABC
(Image credit: ABC)

Warning! The following contains spoilers for the black-ish series finale, called “Homegoing.” Read at your own risk!

One of ABC’s greatest sitcoms, black-ish, aired its series finale, putting a cap on an acclaimed 8-season run. The show sent the Johnsons to a new neighborhood (after a wonderful scene between Dre and Bow), but not before the whole family sent their home out in high fashion with a New Orleans-style funeral procession that included much of the show’s cast and crew. It also featured the iconic Stevie Wonder song “As,” which surely got the tears flowing for fans as they had to say goodbye.

Showrunner Courtney Lilly spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the black-ish series finale and the reason for the song choice. Lilly gave some credit to HBO for the decision and said the inspiration came from the way the network’s programs close out shows:

One of the things I love about what HBO has done so much is you’d watch an episode — I’m just going to name a show — you watch an episode of Girls or whatever. And no matter what happens, they cut to black and do that music cue. If that song is dope, you get a feeling out of it. So I knew that’s kind of what we wanted to do. That is the great thing about film and television, it’s auditory and it’s visual. So it was really important what the song was going to be, and we had months and months and months to think about it. And it’s one of Stevie Wonder’s best songs, which is saying a lot because he is a miracle songwriter and musician. And there was just a moment where I heard it and I was just like, oh, this has got to be it. Mercifully they gave us permission to use it. And it’s one of those things that just felt right as soon as we did it.

“As” is a song about love and a promise to love someone unconditionally. It certainly matched the vibe of the closing scene for the Johnsons, as the entire cast of characters danced in the streets and celebrated the family moving from the home and into a new neighborhood. 

It was an elaborate ending, but when it comes to series finales and the legacy that black-ish leaves behind, I think it’s fair to say that it earned it. (You can revisit the series streaming with a Hulu subscription.) You can’t beat going out on a Stevie Wonder song, which really made the moment that much more emotional and meaningful, and also made me want to watch some music documentaries about Stevie Wonder

black-ish is over at ABC, but fans can still enjoy the stars on Freeform’s grown-ish, which will return for Season 5. Crime drama fans likely know that Anthony Anderson reprised his role in the Law & Order revival, and Hulu was at one point developing an old-ish spinoff with Laurence Fishburne and Jenifer Lewis, though creator Kenya Barris mentioned to THR that he hasn’t heard much more about that happening. Given the show’s impact, it's entirely possible that more spinoffs could happen, and hopefully more finales with awesome songs as well. 

Those already missing black-ish can stream the series on Hulu or on Disney+. I’m sure more than a few will do just that while coping with the loss of such a great series that will be live on via streaming long after the series finale. 

Mick Joest
Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.