In the Season 1 finale of black-ish, "Pops' Pops' Pops," a major turning point for the Johnson family's ancestors is recounted in flashbacks, and if Pops's version of history is to be believed, then Mary J. Blige's hit "I'm Going Down" was first performed in 1920s Harlem. In the episode, a chanteuse named Mirabelle Chalet (played by guest star Mary J. Blige) sings the song, and it's just one of 5 major moments of revisionist history spun by Pops (Laurence Fishburne) in his retelling of the family's history. Here's a countdown of the other 4 tall-tale incidents told by Pops:
4. The Saying "You Bet Your Sweet Bippy" Came from a Bookie Named Bippy Barnes
Pops insists that the hippest cat at the Savoy Ballroom's heyday in 1920s Harlem was the legendary sports bookie Bippy Barnes (Laurence Fishburne). When he asks orphan Jolly (Miles Brown) to buy some bullets, he confirms that he needs .45s by saying, "You bet your sweet Bippy."
3. Langston Hughes Plagiarized a Janitor Who Lived under a Train
The janitor (Deon Cole) at the Kimble, Kollins & Klark advertising agency ("Triple K") lived under a train, but when he was roommates with Langston Hughes, it was the janitor who came up with the famous line "a raisin in the sun" featured in the Hughes poem "A Dream Deferred (Harlem)." Apparently, putting stuff in the sun was the janitor's thing, and besides raisins, he'd put out damp socks and uncured bacon in the sun. "That crazy fireball don't play," the janitor warned.
2. Pops's Grandfather Invented Jazz
Pops's grandfather Drex Johnson (Anthony Anderson) has eyes for Savoy showgirl Bea (Tracee Ellis Ross), who performs precariously on a crescent moon stage prop. To make her moon perch more stable, Drex shores it up with some music stands he swiped from the orchestra. When the band realizes their sheet music is missing, Drex gives them some beats to improvise to. Ruby (Jenifer Lewis) refuses to believe that led to the birth of jazz, and Pops concedes saying his grandfather merely came up with "beats by Drex."
1. Pops's Grandfather Invented Breakdancing
When Drex finds himself in a dance-off against Elroy Savoy's proxy and ringer, the fleet-footed Jolly, it's up to Drex to innovate some new moves to win the competition. He does so by spinning on his head and doing what Elroy dismisses as "wormlike dancing." It gets Drex disqualified, but it leads to something far more important: the beginnings of the Johnson family of today.
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