Colorism has been a problem that has long plagued the African-American community for generations. Actors and actresses in Hollywood have found that throughout the years roles have lacked diversity and have not necessarily been inclusive. Fast-forward to 2019, and although we have come far, many would say that we have not necessarily come far enough.
Writer/producer Kenya Barris, known for titles such as Black-ish, Grown-ish, and Girl’s Trip, finds himself under fire as a result of the casting for his first Netflix project Black Excellence.
Introducing: Genneya Walton, Iman Benson, Scarlet Spencer, Justin Clairborne, Ravi Cabot-Conyers, and Richard Gardenhire Jr.
Coming 2020 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/m4nGPCRQDh
— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) December 20, 2019
After this picture was tweeted, the twittersphere went wild with criticism.
“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.
Another person tweeted: “There is something amiss with how Kenya Barris shows are cast, and to be blunt, that thing is colorism, and stereotypes.”
And of course, Barris immediately responded to the backlash tweeting:
“Guys, this is supposed to be real. What do u think Rashida & I’s kids would look like?“ he tweeted.
Later he added, “And I’m also not gonna make up a fake family that genetically makes no sense just for the sake of trying to fill quotas. I LOVE MY PEOPLE!”
“I’m going to say this and then let what happens happen… Colorism is a divisive tool used by the powerful to separate the truly powerful.”
According to tvinsider.com, the single-camera eight-episode comedy is inspired by Barris’ approach to parenting, relationships, race and culture. The series, produced through Barris’ Khalabo Ink Society production company, promises to flip sitcom traditions on its head, exploring what it means to be “new money” in a black family. Joining Barris on this project will be Rashida Jones, Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Genneya Walton, Justin Claiborne, Scarlet Spencer and Richard Gardenhire Jr.
Is Barris guilty of colorism or is he simply reflecting his own personal story in his work? Barris is shown above with his real-life estranged wife, Dr. Rania “Rainbow” Barris, and their children.
We want to know your answer to our question. Sound-off, we want to hear from you on this hot topic!