(April 17) – Hollywood’s powerhouse writer and director Kenya Barris is at it again with #blackAF, debuting today on the streaming giant Netflix. The acclaimed showrunner who brought the juggernaut sitcom Black-ish to ABC and mined spin-off gold with Grown-ish and Mixed-ish is premiering his first show for Netflix. Barris, who famously left ABC for a $100 million deal with Netflix in order to have more creative control over his shows, stars as himself, an overworked and exhausted parent of five trying to maintain his dominance in Hollywood and keep his family together. Interestingly, Barris and his real-life wife Dr. Rania “Rainbow” Barris, are in the midst of a divorce after 20 years of marriage. The college sweethearts (Clark Atlanta University) share six children and Black-ish is based on their family dynamics. But I digress.
Co-starring Rashida Jones as Barris’ wife on the show, #blackAF is a nod to the self-reflexive zaniness that is Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and the culturally relevant comedic sensibilities found on Black-ish. In addition to Barris and Jones, the cast is rounded out by Iman Benson (Uncle Buck), Andrea Ellsworth (Shameless), Justin Clairborne (Marlon), Scarlet Spenser (Shameless), Genneya Walton (Project Mc2) and newcomers Ravi Cabot-Conyers and Richard Whitney Gardenhire, Jr. With celebrity cameos galore #blackAF brings the star power as well. Check out the official trailer below:
The show has already had it’s fair share of criticism. Initially titled, “Black Excellence,” early promos experienced blowback from some viewers who accused Barris of colorism.
Barris and company got back in the lab and #blackAF debuts today on Netflix. Will you be watching? Let us know if you’re watching and what you think of the show on Twitter @TheBurtonWire and of course #blackAF.
This post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Follow her on Twitter @Ntellectual.