Netflix series #BlackAF has struck a chord in the Black community to become one of the most polarizing new titles on the streaming platform.
The underlying topics of colorism and Black representation in media triggered much of the backlash and Kenya Barris, the show’s star and creator, recently broke his silence to respond to the reception of his latest work in an appearance on T.I.’s expediTIously podcast.
“The one thing that I’ll say in terms of the colorism [is] this (the show) is based on my family” and actress Rashida Jones is “playing a version of my wife, who’s biracial,” said Barris, who said she did a “pitch-perfect job.”
#BlackAF is a fictionalized satire of Barris, who plays himself, opposite Jones, navigating through Hollywood as a Black creative with a biracial wife and family. Barris is the creator of the Award-winning ABC series Black-ish and its subsequent spinoffs Grown-ish and Mixed-ish, which are also loosely based on his life.He is also a co-writer of comedy film Girls Trip.
Barris has six children with his wife Rania “Rainbow” Barris, who is the inspiration for anesthesiologist Rainbow Johnson, played by Tracee Ellis Ross, in Black-ish.
“I think everyone’s experience and everyone’s opinion in terms of, you know, colorism are real, and I understand that,” Barris continued, “but if you just dug a little bit under the surface, you’d understand that” #BlackAF is “biographical … and I was trying to duplicate a version of what my family was.”
Barris as a Hollywood writer continues to make moves in real life as executive producer of the Netflix sketch comedy show Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show and wrote the forthcoming Coming 2 America sequel.