A ‘Race Detective’ Investigates Racism in ‘American Koko’

By Sameer Rao Jun 20, 2017

Viola Davis ("Fences") and Julius Tennon‘s ("Custody") JuVee Productions celebrated Juneteenth yesterday (June 19) with the release of the second season of detective web comedy, "American Koko," through ABC Digital

Deadline reported yesterday that Davis and Tennon chose to premiere the six-episode season on Juneteenth—an annual commemoration of the emancipation of formerly enslaved African Americans—because of its relevance to contemporary racism. "Race has always been a issue in our country," Tennon told Deadline. "Now, in our current political climate, a show like ‘American Koko,’ which is about helping people navigate sticky racial situation[s], creates a conversation around race in an insight, funny and interesting way."

Series creator Diarra Kilpatrick ("Major Crimes") stars as Akosua "Koko" Miller, a so-called "race detective" with the fictional and multiracial Everybody’s A Little Bit Racist (E.A.R.) Agency. The group probes racist incidents involving White transgressors who subscribe to "post-racial" fantasies and wish to clear their names. "American Koko’s" first six-episode season, which Kilpatrick originally produced through her YouTube page and also now streams through ABC Digital, follows the case of a White high school drama teacher who casts his self-written musical about Harriet Tubman with only one Black student. The second season sees E.A.R. investigating a White chef accused of killing a Black teen. Both seasons also chronicle Miller’s fraught attempts to deal with the impact racism and past traumas have on her sense of self. 

Kilpatrick told Essence that she hopes "American Koko’s" edgy humor will offer viewers catharsis. "My hope is that by employing comedy, we can make it a little easier to even talk about these things and even look at them," she explains. "Because the solution is not to just pretend like they are not happening."

Check out the "American Koko" trailer below via JuVee’s Twitter, and watch the first and second seasons for free on ABC.go.com.