‘Black-ish’: How Michelle Obama Became a Season 8 Guest Star

Black-ish - season 8 - Michelle Obama and Anthony Anderson
ABC/Richard Cartwright

Getting Michelle Obama to appear in the socially aware sitcom black-ish’s Season 8 opener came down to a simple text message from cast member Tracee Ellis Ross (Rainbow).

“We knew it was [black-ish’s] last season, and we’re like, ‘Hey, Tracee, do you want to send a message to your friend?’” says executive producer Courtney Lilly, laughing.

black-ish cast season 8 michelle obama

(Credit: ABC/Richard Cartwright)

In the episode, Bow drags disgruntled husband Dre (Anthony Anderson) to a When We All Vote fundraiser. She’s on the board — he’s expecting to be bored. Upon arrival, though, they find out the former first lady is a surprise guest, and they bond with her, then invite her to dinner!

“Dre and Bow want to have this friendship on their own, apart from the family,” Lilly says. But keeping the rest of the Johnsons from attending proves difficult: On the night Obama visits, “everybody acts a fool and tries to be impressive.”

The story reflects a new direction for Bow and Dre. “They’re going into a phase where they’re confronted with more of an empty house,” Lilly says. As kids are moving out, he hints, Dre realizes this is “time he’ll never get back” with 5-year-old Devanté (August/Berlin Gross). Will Dre make a change?

black-ish, Season Premiere, Tuesday, January 4, 9:30/8:30c, ABC