When Family Reunion came to Netflix in 2019, it had been so long since we last saw a multigenerational African-American family leading a sitcom. With TV royalty Tia Mowry-Hardrict leading the pack and acting legends Loretta Devine and Richard Roundtree bookending the talented cast, it was sure to be a streaming favorite. The show follows the McKellan family—Cocoa (Mowry-Hardrict), Moz (Anthony Alabi), Jade (Talia Jackson), Shaka (Isaiah Russell-Bailey), Mazzi (Cameron J. Wright), and Ami (Jordan Raya James), as they leave behind their plush life in Seattle for the southern hospitality of Columbus, Georgia. Once there, the family decides to move in with Moz’s God-fearing, old-school mother, M’Dear (played by Devine), and his pastor father, Grandpa (expertly embodied by Roundtree).
Both the kids and the elders find themselves faced with trying to marry the old to the new, city life to rural existence, and adjusting to living under one roof. The show is full of all the feel-good quintessential sitcom hi-jinx but also present are some very real moments of gravity sprinkled atop some good, clean fun. That is truer than ever in Part 3, which will come to the streaming giant this coming Monday as the second half of Season 2, where audiences will see some pretty heavy topics being given the Family Reunion treatment through music, hilarious dialogue, and genuine emotion. It is, without a doubt, one of the strongest parts of the show thus far.
The cast sat down to talk about some of their favorite moments from Part 3 and what audiences can expect from the McKellans.
Iman Milner: This season deals with a lot of hot button issues—gentrification and financial literacy, for example. I’d love to hear you guys talk about how the show went about covering those topics.
Loretta Devine: Well, although we have a lot of big topics that we’re covering, there’s also a lot of music and entertainment in all of these episodes. We’re taking people to Mardi Gras, on Halloween excursions, Christmas parties. The whole thing. In the midst of all that entertainment, you’re going to learn a lot of things that will help you discuss what life is about with your family.
Tia Mowry: The one topic I am most excited about other people seeing is personal for me. We talk about death in the family on one episode. It’s part of the circle of life and something that’s natural, but me being the mother of two young children—it’s like how do I convey this to them so that they understand, but it’s not too overwhelming. On this show, we definitely tackle such a heavy topic in such an incredible way. There’s music, there’s honest conversation, and I really feel that people are going to walk away from this episode feeling informed about how to communicate with their family about that.
Anthony Alabi: I really enjoyed dealing with Jade. I think that’s something that a lot of parents go through with teenagers who are trying to establish who they are. My little ones are only 2 and 4, so I am only imagining how difficult that is. The show does a great job of showing how to balance disciplining them and letting them spread their wings to feel the consequences of their own actions. It’s an interesting dynamic that I really enjoyed working through as Moz. Especially with the way the last season ended. Clearly, Jade came back.
IM: Tia [Mowry], Cocoa is balancing life with manifesting her dreams and going after her own goals this season. So many women can relate to that. How mindful of that were you in this season?
TM: I really like what you just said because I feel like we, as women, especially when we become mothers, tend to put our ambitions on the back burner. Or we feel like we have to put everything to the side and forget about our aspirations. Cocoa is a mother first, but she also wants to do what she loves to do. People will see her explore her ambitions this season. It’s for financial reasons too. She doesn’t want to put all the responsibility on the man to take care of the family unit, which I think is a great thing that you see her wanting to help in some type of way. There are two little lessons here for me: just because she’s a mom, her ambitions don’t come last, and she wants to contribute in some way because there’s a financial crisis at stake for them right now.
Family Reunion Part 3 comes to Netflix on Monday, April 5th.