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:
*light bulb* you do know that you can make a show about a non-mixed black man who's married to a non-mixed black woman…right? like who's demanding that you and Rashida be the leads?
— Cal Frost (@irvsmiff) December 22, 2019
We are all aware as black people that SOME black families do actually look like this. But, it's the pattern when all black characters on all of your shows are pretty much just light. That is why people are reacting to this. (2)
— Wakanda Shit Is That? (@unemployedfatty) December 22, 2019
- 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.