By Victor Ochieng
Posted October 24th 2018
BLACK-ISH STAR ANTHONY ANDERSON AND KENYA BARRIS
The newest-big-ticket addition to Netflix’s lineup of television producers is creator of “Black-ish”, Kenya Barris. He has signed an overall series deal that took effect on August 16 and will see him produce projects for Netflix through Khalabo Ink Society, which is his production company. This comes just weeks after exiting ABC.
Cindy Holland, vice president, original content at Netflix, said in a press release, “Kenya Barris is one of our great modern storytellers. Kenya uses his voice to make audiences more aware of the world around them, while simultaneously making them laugh. His honesty, comedic brilliance and singular point of view, combined with the creative freedom he will enjoy at Netflix, promises to create powerful new stories for all our members around the world.”
Barris won a Peabody Award after the airing of black-ish and he has also co-written Girls Trip, which turned out to be an extremely profitable movie. Black-ish stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, a story that focuses on an upper-middle class African-American family. He is also the creator of black-ish’s spinoff series grown-ish, which brings attention to the current issues surrounding students and administrators in higher education. He is also working on a sequel to Coming to America and the reboot of Shaft.
“When my agents reached out to me about this little garage startup called Netflix, I wasn’t sure what to think. But after I talked to Ted and Cindy, I started to believe that maybe this mom-and-pop shop with only 130 million subscribers might just be something… so I decided to take a swing… a leap of faith if you will, and take a chance with the new kids on the block,” Barris said in the release. He said that he entered into the deal because he believes that Netflix will allow him to tell more stories.
Variety reported on his exit from ABC, especially after an episode of Black-ish got shelved because of creative differences. The reports read, “Barris’ departure from ABC Studios, where he was under an overall deal, became official last month. But according to insiders, his release from his ABC deal had been secured several months ago, and the basics of his new Netflix agreement had also been in place for some time. Barris’ relationship with ABC began to show signs of strain in March when Variety reported that the network had indefinitely shelved an episode of “Black-ish” that he wrote and directed, titled “Please, Baby, Please,” which touched on current events, including controversy over athletes kneeling during performances of the national anthem. Barris told Variety at the time, “Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it.”
Netflix said, “Barris has continually demonstrated his ability to tell stories about the Black experience that resonate with all audiences. With an innate sense for what is funny, truthful and timely, Barris will continue to create stories that reflect culture through an urban, youth and female focused lens.”