Kenya Barris
Chelsea Lauren/Variety/REX/Shutterstock
United States

Khalabo Ink Society

Kenya
Barris

Principal / Director / Producer / Writer

Now in its fourth season and coming off a Peabody Award and multiple Emmy nominations, Kenya Barris’ ABC comedy “black-ish” tells universal family stories. Married with six children, Barris strives to create episodes of his TV show that reflect his own life experience. Although “black-ish” has been lauded for telling the story of an African-American family, Barris says bolstering prime-time diversity was not a primary goal.

“For me, personally, we did not go into this show saying we want to tackle diversity,” Barris told Variety in 2016. “I wanted to tell a personal story. I really wanted to tell a story that was personal to me the same way [Jerry] Seinfeld told a story that was personal to him. … When you can tell your story you can start telling other people’s stories.”

Barris inked a three-year deal with ABC studios to write and develop future projects. Among them, he created “grown-ish,” a spinoff of “black-ish” focusing on the Johnson family’s eldest daughter, played by Yara Shahidi. He also co-wrote a pilot for ABC titled “Libby & Malcolm,” about husband (Courtney B. Vance) and wife (Felicity Huffman) as polar opposite political pundits.

A writer on the 2002-03 drama “Soul Food” and the 2008-14 comedy “The Game,” Barris co-developed the reality competition mainstay “America’s Next Top Model” and was a writer on the most recent “Barbershop” movie as well as “Girls Trip.”

Career

  • SOUL FOOD
  • BLACK-ISH
  • GAME, THE

Education

  • Clark Atlanta University (GA, USA)

Variety Honors

  • Comedy Impact
  • Comedy Leaders

News from Variety

'Black-ish' Creator Kenya Barris on 'Confederate,' 'Detroit' and ABC Comedy's Juneteenth Musical

'Black-ish' Creator Kenya Barris on 'Confederate,' 'Detroit' and ABC Comedy's Juneteenth Musical

ABC's "Black-ish" has built a reputation as one of broadcast's most critically loved comedies in part by being unafraid to tackle social issues, particularly when it comes to race. The upcoming season premiere will be no exception.Speaking to reporters Monday on the "Black-ish" set, series creator Kenya Barris teased the show's upcoming Season 4 premiere — a musical episode that takes on the legacy of slavery."One of the things we're really excited about is our premiere," Barris said. "We've been...

MORE NEWS

Deep Dive

Want more information on Kenya Barris?

Variety's premium research & data service, Variety Insight, provides a wealth of information around everyone working in entertainment. Access contact information, development slates, ratings, box office, credits and more from the industry's leading source for entertainment data.