No matter where you attend school, from a traditional college campus to a city school like Marymount Manhattan College, Freeform’s Grown-ish staring Yara Shahidi is nothing but the truth when acknowledging the real life of today’s college students. From meltdowns to college parties, Grown-ish brings comedy backed with recognizing important social issues like representation of the LGBTQ community, life of black college students, and the increase of drug use on college campuses.
Yara Shahidi plays Zoey, from the Johnson family on ABC’s Black-ish. Zoey is an independent, free spirited, African American trendsetter who quickly realizes college would not be as “easy” as high school. Everything from the pressure to fit in, attend parties, have a love life, and maintain good grades takes Zoey on a whirlwind as she gets a taste of finding her true self within the crowd of thousands of college students.
College in the past was not as diverse as it is today. Grown-ish makes it a point to highlight the real representation of how diverse their on-television student body is. People from all over the world with different races, backgrounds, and interests are attending college not just to receive an education but to realize everybody’s life has a few ups and downs and nobody is perfect. In the first episode, Zoey is placed into a night class where she meets her gang of friends: Emily Arlook as Nomi Segal, a Jewish bisexual white female, Jordan Buhat as Vivek Shah, an Indian male who is a drug dealer and hustler doing away from his traditional Indian culture, and Halle and Chloe Bailey who play Jaslyn and Skyler Foster, twins who are track athletes on scholarships. Netflix’s Burning Sands star Trevor Jackson plays Aaron Jackson, a politically woke African American, and ABC Family’s Secret of the American Teenager Francia Raisa stars as Analisa Patricia Torres, a white female conservative and fashion icon Luka Sabbat as Luca Hall, a care free stoner. This entire friend group is used to represent the wide range of students on the grounds of college campuses. Grown-ish does not just focus on the straight A student who is SGA President, but it zones in on how individuals from different lifestyles are able to come together and relate to the same struggles students have to deal with.
The show strives to relate to college students and current issues in their community. With these new friends comes new experiences, advice, support, guidance, and some good ol’ college fun. At the closing of the first episode Zoey says, “One by one I looked around and saw a group strangers with nothing in common look at each other and see their truest selves reflected in the eyes of people they would soon call family.” Because that is what college is all about. Meeting your best friends who you can relate to and confide in at the hardest times.