Matthew A. Cherry on Directing Black-ish's Election Special: 'There's a Certain Side Working Hard to Make Sure Our Voice Isn't Counted'

Matthew A. Cherry isn’t voter-ish...he’s a whole voter.

The Oscar-winning director helmed a special two-part election special of Black-ish on Sunday night. Part 1 explored Junior (Marcus Scribner) and his excitement as a first-time voter (in which he later became a bit jaded once he learned about that pesky little thing called voter suppression) and Part 2 was a completely animated episode where Dre (Anthony Anderson) ran against his boss for Congress.

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So, what if Junior had come to his play uncle Matthew Cherry and asked for voting advice? Given Cherry’s rising star status after his Academy Award win, I’m sure there are several young voters who are Junior’s age and may need some advice during what is quite the high-profile presidential election.

“One thing I discovered recently [when] I got married less than a month ago, [is] at the courthouse where we picked up our marriage certificate, they have these drop boxes where you can actually drop off your ballot,” Cherry said, noting that there are several options in addition to mailing in or standing in line to vote the day-of election.

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“It’s just little small things like that to make sure your vote is counted because there’s a certain side that is definitely working hard to make sure our voice isn’t counted.” That side wouldn’t be painted orange, now would it? *wink*

With his award-winning Hair Love and his upcoming HBO Max show Young Love, Cherry clearly has animation expertise so he was the perfect person to be involved in Black-ish’s first animated episode. There’s so much time and effort that general audiences may not know goes into creating an animated episode of television, especially one so timely. Add those general pressures to the fact that production doesn’t look the same during a global pandemic and...wow!

“Animation, in general, is never one person who is bringing the whole thing home,” Cherry explained. “The first part of it is, you do the voice recording [and] we did that via Zoom which was a new experience for me and I was essentially able to give them notes and feedback live through Zoom from the comfort of my living room which was kind of cool! I sent over some shot listings and some blocking ideas over to the studio that’s going to be handling the storyboards...what happens after that is the animation studio just goes to work.”

The seventh season premiere of Black-ish will air Oct. 21 on ABC at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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