Kenya Barris Exits Netflix Deal to Do ‘More Edgy’ Content

Kenya Barris Headshot (Credit: Megan Miller)

Kenya Barris has walked away from his $100 million production deal with Netflix because he says the streamer didn’t appreciate his “edgy” projects.

The Hollywood Reporter published a profile Wednesday on the Black-ish creator, and he revealed he decided to exit his contract with the streaming platform in January.

“I just don’t know that my voice is Netflix’s voice,” Barris told THR. “The stuff I want to do is a little bit more edgy, a little more highbrow, a little more heady, and I think Netflix wants down the middle.”

“Netflix became CBS,” he said, comparing the streamer to the family-friendly broadcast network.

Related Story: Kenya Barris and Eva Longoria Teaming Up for Possible ‘Brown-ish’ Spinoff

Barris is now partnering with ViacomCBS and BET to launch BET Studios. He also has a podcast deal with Audible and a book contract with Random House.

“I want to do in-your-face sh–,” Barris said. “I want to sell to everybody – and if you don’t want to work with me, I’m not saying that you’re racist, but other people might.”

Although Barris left his multi-year Netflix contract, the #blackAF creator will continue to make content for the streamer, including stand-alone #blackAF family vacation films. He stated in the interview he’s toying with the idea of Mexico and Brazil spinoffs of #blackAF. He also revealed he has been co-writing and directing a Netflix film with Jonah Hill that he also hopes to star in as well.

Netflix doesn’t seem to have a chip on its shoulder against Barris. “The good news for us is we’re still in business with Kenya on many fronts,” Co-CEO Ted Sarandos said. “We’ll be in business with him for a long time to come.”

In his new venture with BET Studios, Barris hopes to sell premium programming to multiple studios and streaming services.

He is also venturing into other media platforms — including adding a record label with Interscope where he signed a couple of artists, collaborating on multiple upcoming films with entertainment heavyweights such as Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg, as well as starting up a multi-project deal with Audible for podcasts.

Barris additionally inked a book deal with Random House for a collection of essays tentatively titled “This Is Basic Sh–: Things We Know That We’re Shocked You Don’t.”

As previously reported, Barris’ long-running ABC show Black-ish will end after season 8, which will give the creator more time to dive into his multiple multimedia projects.