Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist 2×06, Season 2, Episode 6, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Reckoning” aired on NBC Feb. 9, 2021
Wow. This show always does an amazing job with their songs, emotional moments and story-telling, but the way that they approached racism in the workplace was so honest and thoughtfully presented. We still have chills from those powerful musical moments and the real life truth behind them all. Here’s what happened in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist 2×06.
Racism Town Hall. Zoey’s idea to start a conversation about race on the 4th floor is well intended, but goes south really quickly when the only people that spoke about race were the white employees. The heart song that Simon sang during this conversation made it clear that the black employees were not feeling heard in this conversation, in fact, they declined to actually speak at all in this forum.
This particular scenario looks very familiar. After the protests sparked by George Floyd’s murder in 2020, it became very commonplace for companies to turn to their employees of color to lead the conversations and to become the educators on race for their companies. While the intentions may have been good, it was not a fair way to approach the conversation, much like our Zoey found out.
Maximo is off the ground! After turning down Max’s dad’s money, Mo and Max are in need of an investor. Zoey gets them a meeting with Danny, who is feeling super guilty about racial inequality and has opened his wallet as a way to deal with it. They nail their pitch and get the funds! Now Max just has to fix a little tech glitch – to the 4th floor! It’s been a while since we got to see Max working on some coding issues with the peeps on the 4th floor and we love to see it.
Mo and Zoey. After being told to ask Simon to walk back his statement, Zoey goes to Mo for advice on how to handle it. If you are thinking that Zoey going to Mo to help guide her on a racial conversation feels a lot like the town hall misstep, you are correct – and Mo calls her out on it via song. And OMFG – Alex Newell’s vocals are insane!
Zoey and Simon. Zoey talks to Simon about retracting and revising his statement, but Simon stands by what he said and commits to standing by it going forward. Simon spoke his mind and frankly, asking him to take it back and then asking him to express his thoughts on racism in the workplace (at the earlier town hall) all in the same day is super hypocritical, and way too commonplace. And finally, Zoey really heard him.
Tobin. Zoey goes to Danny to confront him about the racial problems at SPRQ Point. She isn’t racist, but is starting to see that it’s not enough to simply be a non-racist. She (and all of us) need to be actively anti-racist and that means calling out the short comings of the company herself. She also realizes she needs to check in with Tobin. After he solves Max’s coding issue, one of the 4th floor guys makes a racist joke to Tobin and it becomes clear that he is also experiencing racism, but doesn’t want to stir the pot.
Time to change. Tobin decided to speak out about his experience on-line and SPRQ Point employees all over the globe chimed in to share their experiences with racism. Danny and Simon go through the stories and Danny sees that he needs to be anti-racist as well (and that donating to causes isn’t enough). At the Board meeting, he turns it over to Simon to talk about ways the company can do better and they actually listen! It’s not a cure for racism (as Simon notes), but it’s a commitment to make change and that’s a very good thing.
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Watch Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Sundays on NBC.