Reverse Aunt Viv? Tika Sumpter to Portray Young Rainbow’s Mama in Black-ish Spinoff

Tika Sumpter attends the Amazon Prime Video’s Golden Globe Awards After Party on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.
Tika Sumpter attends the Amazon Prime Video’s Golden Globe Awards After Party on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.
Photo: Emma McIntyre (Getty Images)

Fans of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air will never forget the moment Aunt Vivian joined Team Lightskin after having a baby. Is that a WebMD side effect, by the way?

Well, the flip side of that is happening with ABC’s Black-ish. Sort of.

Per Deadline:

Workaholic co-creator Anders Holm, The Haves and the Have Nots star Tika Sumpter and Arica Himmel (Before You Know It) lead the cast of Black-ish‘s upcoming Bow-centric episode, which will feature flashbacks to a teen version of Tracee Ellis Ross’ character of Rainbow. Gary Cole (Veep), Ethan William Childress, Mykal-Michelle Harris (Big Little Lies 2) and Second City Chicago alum Christina Anthony have been cast in the potential prequel series set in the 1980s-90s. The backdoor pilot episode, which revolves around Rainbow’s growing up, will air later this season.

Himmel will play Rainbow, an younger version of the character played by Ross on Black-ish. Holm will play Paul, Bow’s father, Sumpter portrays Alicia, Bow’s mother.

Childress is Johan, Harris will portray Santamonica, Cole is Harrison, Paul’s father, and Anthony is Denise, Alicia’s sister.


Let’s zero in on this part here: “Sumpter portrays Alicia, Bow’s mother.”

Skrrrrt! Jigga what?

Okay. So, Anna Deavere Smith portrays Rainbow’s mom in the present day, on the ABC hit sitcom.

Just in case you’re not up on Black-ish, this is how Smith looks, by the way:


Smith is the lovely and talented lady standing next to Beau Bridges, who portrays Rainbow’s father. If you notice, she is on one end of the Fenty Beauty swatch line, while Sumpter is on the other.

Black-ish doesn’t have an in-studio audience, but there’s no way they can’t address this stark difference to the audience watching at home, even as a nod. Break that punny fourth wall!


The pilot is in the works now, but if it gets picked up for series, it’ll be the second Black-ish spin-off, after Freeform’s Grown-ish. We don’t have a title for the Bow project as of yet, but with this news, I’m now predicting it’ll be Tan-ish.

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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Tan-ish! LOL!

This is just stupid casting... I mean, really?  An homage to Ms. Smith’s role is in order; not an insult. Wrong-headed casting.