Netflix ‘#blackAF’ Trailer Drops Starring Kenya Barris, Rashida Jones, Backlash Ensues

The comedy series invites viewers into his life as a Hollywood hitmaker with six children.

Kenya Barris had to contend with accusations of colorism when a photo of the #blackAF cast went viral in December, with many in the black community noticing a decidedly fairer skin cast.

What We Know:

  • The Netflix original series stars Barris as a fictionalized version of himself and Rashida Jones as his wife Joya. Barris and Joya’s children are played by Genneya Walton, Iman Benson, Scarlet Spencer, Justin Claiborne, Ravi Cabot-Conyers, and Richard Gardenhire Jr. #blackAF is executive produced by Barris, Jones, and Hale Rothstein.
  • Some socia 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.
  • Barris quickly responded to the criticism saying “Guys this is supposed to be real. What do you think Rashida and I’s kids look like?” he tweeted.
  • Regarding the casting of his actors, Barris said “These kids look like my kids. My very Black REAL kids & they face discrimination everyday from others outside our culture and I don’t want them to also see it from us.”
  • Barris was married to Rania “Rainbow” Barris for 20 years before he filed for divorce in August of last year. Another person tweeted: “There is something amiss with how Kenya Barris shows are cast, and to be blunt, that thing is colorism, and stereotypes.”
  • Here are a few of the responses for Barris’ call for realism:

  • The trailer for the series promises some great laughs. One of the best moments of the trailer is when Barris is on a video conference with other black creators such as Issa Rae, Will Packer, Ava DuVernay, Lena Waithe, and Tim Story. Story just rips into black-ish saying, “black-ish seems to tap into the hearts and minds of 55-year-old white women”.

What do you think of the trailer and the fair skinned cast? Let us know in the comments.

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Dominique Browder is a Digital Intern at UnmutedCo.

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