Kenya Barris Responds to ‘Colorism’ Complaints Over ‘Black Excellence’ Cast

Kenya Barris Headshot (Credit: Megan Miller)

Kenya Barris has responded to critics questioning the casting of his upcoming Netflix comedy Black Excellence.

The series, which has now been renamed #blackAF,  stars Barris and Rashida Jones as parents of a large brood, and is inspired by the Black-ish creator’s real-life family.

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Over the weekend, Netflix released a photo and details on the supporting cast.

“Black Excellence has found its family,” the streamer’s Strong Black Lead account tweeted. “Introducing: Genneya Walton, Iman Benson, Scarlet Spencer, Justin Clairborne, Ravi Cabot-Conyers, and Richard Gardenhire Jr.”

The photo immediately sparked backlash.

Some social media users accused Barris of “colorism,” and said he repeatedly casts biracial women and children in his shows, which include Mixed-ish and Grown-ish.

“Kenya Barris gotta stop putting ‘black’ on stuff if he’s just gonna use light-skinned and mixed-race black people,” one person responded to the Netflix tweet.

Another person tweeted: “There is something amiss with how Kenya Barris shows are cast, and to be blunt, that thing is colorism, and stereotypes.”

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Kenya Barris Family (Credit: Shutterstock)
Kenya Barris is shown with estranged wife Dr. Rania “Rainbow” Barris and their children

Barris quickly responded to the criticism.

“Guys, this is supposed to be real. What do u think Rashida & I’s kids would look like? he wrote in a since-deleted tweet.

Later he added, “And I’m also not gonna make up a fake family that genetically makes no sense just for the sake of trying to fill quotas. I LOVE MY PEOPLE!”

Barris continued to respond to fans throughout the weekend and wrote, “I’m going to say this and then let what happens happen… Colorism is a divisive tool used by the powerful to separate the truly powerful.”

Black Excellence marks Barris’ first project in his production deal with Netflix that was announced in August 2018. The single-camera comedy will be produced through his Khalabo Ink Society production company.

In addition to creating and starring in the series, he’ll serve as an executive producer along with Jones and Hale Rothstein (Black-ish, Grown-ish).

2 thoughts on “Kenya Barris Responds to ‘Colorism’ Complaints Over ‘Black Excellence’ Cast

  1. Not the light skinned / dark skinned bullshit…….AGAIN! SMH ~ whomever is beefing about colorism should remember that as a race, we have waaaaaaaayyyyyy bigger fish to fry than that. Use all of that wasted energy and displaced aggression at the polls during election season

  2. How about cast a dark skinned actress in the lead mother role. Then the children can have darker tones and more kink to their hair. This is ridiculous.

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