“Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris’ office is on the Disney lot across the street from where the show is filmed. It’s an upbeat place. One week before shooting was set to begin on season three, “Black-ish” received three primetime Emmy Award nominations — for outstanding comedy series as well as for stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross. That type of recognition can liven up a workplace.
Over Barris’ desk hang two paintings by his friend and sometimes collaborator, artist Shah Wonders. The two were paired 15 years ago to create a comic book for DreamWorks. “I love artists,” Barris says. “They have to be self-starters. It’s all on them. I feel a kinship with that.”
After the first season wrapped, Anderson had figurines made of himself with Barris and each of the cast members as a gift. Each person had to undergo a full body scan with Anderson for the figurines to be made. “He is my brother from another mother,” Barris says of Anderson.
Also hanging in Barris’ office is a collage of his family, given to him by his five oldest kids for his birthday last year. His sixth child, a boy, was born two months ago. Barris tries to carve out time for the whole family to spend together most Saturday and Sunday mornings. They also sit down to watch “Black-ish” on Wednesday nights. “I think they like it,” Barris says. “Sometimes it’s a little too much for them. I’m telling their stories.”