Yes, the entire main cast is black and yes, the show is titled “black-ish” — but if there’s one thing Kenya Barris wants you to know about his Emmy-nominated series, it’s that it’s not a “black show.”
The creator of the critically acclaimed comedy says that everybody’s story is an American story, and we need to start embracing that idea a bit more. “It’s not a black story or a black show, it’s an American show,” Barris told TheWrap. “It’s about American culture, and part of American culture is black culture.”
Barris believes that by embracing the idea that this is simply the story of one particular family, “black-ish” could enable audiences to relate on a more intimate level.
“The one thing we wanted to do was not run away from the fact that this was a black family, but show the problems and the things that they have and the specificity of them,” said the producer. “People will really look and see and find their own family within it.”
And like most American families, Barris and the “black-ish” cast are now going to have to deal with their first child going off to college. Yara Shahidi will be heading to Harvard in the fall at the same time that her character Zoey Johnson will be leaving for college, which will in turn lead to the spinoff “grown-ish” premiering in early 2018.
“It’s going to be tough, I think she’s a tough kid,” said Barris of Shahidi juggling school, the new show and appearances on “black-ish.” “As far as the show goes, there will be a time when we will say goodbye to her in terms of sending her off to college — but she, as any kid that goes to college [does], will naturally stop back home and come in.
“I think that’s one of the greatest things about a family show, that you actually do grow. So we were sort of being prepared for her leaving.”