Mixed-Ish: Tika Sumpter Explains the 'Reverse Aunt Viv' Effect and Tracee Ellis Ross Gives Us Her Instagram Tips

Rainbow’s New Mom / The Root

Last week, I attended the “Embrace Your Ish” event hosted by PopSugar, ABC and Freeform to celebrate what has become an -Ish Televised Universe (ITU) with the network family’s trifecta of T.V. shows—Black-ish, Grown-ish and Mixed-ish. The event was filled with interactive installations of flower crowns, Cal U Polaroid photo opportunities, Dre’s sneakers, movie theater snacks and bite-sized foods.

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Plus, the audience was treated to an incredible appearance by Mariah Carey, who sings the Mixed-ish theme song, “In The Mix.”

Mariah Carey’s “In The Mix” Official Music Video - Mixed-ish / ABC (YouTube)

“Representation is so important and it’s so great for people to be able to watch the show,” Carey told co-creator Kenya Barris (Peter Saji is also a creator of the show) during a preview panel. “I actually cried when I watched the pilot. You see the humor is all there, but the fact that [you also see] just how displaced they are. That’s exactly how I felt; I didn’t grow up in a comedy but it might as well have been a comedy.”

We also watched the season six premiere of Black-ish, which was a nice lead-in for Mixed-ish’s series premiere, of which we also got a sneak peek. First impression of the Mixed-ish pilot: The show has funny moments and the little siblings (portrayed by Mykal-Michelle Harris and Ethan Childress) are the standout roles. I also think Gary Cole is hilarious as the pro-Reagan Grandpa. I’m hoping to see an exploration of Rainbow’s identity beyond typical tropes of the “tragic mulatto”; I’m much more interested in her life in the commune, which I believe sets this show apart and truly supports the “fish out of water” aspect. The show also stars Arica Himmel (as young Bow), Tika Sumpter, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Christina Anthony (who will give hilarious, Sandra Clark of 227 auntie vibes).

At this year’s Urbanworld Film Festival, The Root chatted with Sumpter, who portrays Rainbow’s mom on Mixed-Ish.

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Naturally, since Anna Deavere Smith portrays Bow’s mom in Black-ish and folks noticed the stark color differences, we had to address it.

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“I don’t know if it’s ‘Reverse Aunt Viv’, but what I do know is the creators of the show wanted to serve the story and the story for them is fully-rounded with a brown-skinned woman as the mom,” Sumpter confirmed.

Cue “Brown Skin Girl.”

Speaking of red carpets, we scored a Tracee Ellis Ross interview as well, since she attended the PopSugar event. After making me cry when she gave me personal advice during our phone interview back in February, I was extra geeked to finally meet Ross in person.

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I took it upon myself to dub Ross the Queen of Instagram, which she humbly denied. Still, she did offer to give us some tips.

How To Slay Instagram / The Root

“Keep it honest, keep it real, don’t over-post,” Ross told The Root. “But, sometimes you gotta, because sometimes there’s so much good stuff going on you just can’t help it! But, hold back! Have restraint!”

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There you have it, folks. You just audited a social media class at The University of Tracee.

The series premiere of Mixed-ish airs tonight (Tuesday) at 9 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. CT on ABC.

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About the author

Tonja Renée Stidhum

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.