I respect everyone’s thoughts on this, and I struggled with it also, at first. (And yes, I realize the irony of my beige girl privilege in this conversation.) However, after I finished the series and let it marinate for a few days, I realize that I enjoyed it more than I initially realized, for some of the specific reasons you pointed out in your piece. The reality, as Barris likely understands from his unique perspective, is that you are never too light or too monied to feel the sting of racism. And that your light-skinned privilege and money don’t save you from feeling inadequate or otherwise troubled, on some level.
I mean…c’mon…Quincy Jones had daughters with Peggy Lipton and named them Kidada and Rashida. Is ANYBODY going to mistake them for being anything BUT Black??? Folks get caught up in how light Rashida is, but nobody asks her about how her name forces her — for better or worse — to confront her identity daily (which is why she was the perfect choice to play this role). Those are the kind of high-level ironies that I think #blackAF gets completely right. So I will take the unpopular opinion of defending its value, among the barrage of content we have access to on all of these networks and streaming services.