‘Black-ish’ Producer Says Show Isn’t Really About Race

TCA 2014: Creator Kenya Barris says show is about culture

Since pilot season, people wondered how a show called “Black-ish” could make fun of race so overtly and still get a green light from ABC.

The show’s creator distanced the comedy’s core subject matter from race.

“This show has so much less to do with race than it does culture,” Kenya Barris said. “Race is talked about less than ever before. My kids know this. Miley Cyrus is urban. Justin Bieber is urban. And in some ways, we can call them ‘black-ish.’”

Also read: ABC’s Paul Lee Predicts Success for New Fox Chiefs Dana Walden and Gary Newman

“Black-ish” follows Andre “Dre” (Anthony Anderson), who’s black, his biracial wife, Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross), and their children. Dre realizes that in providing for their kids in such a high-end fashion (“giving them more than you had,” Anderson called it), that they may have lost contact with his black culture.

“You lose a little bit of you, what your life was like,” Barris continued. “How do you relate with the idea that you overpaid? This is a family show. Ultimately, we wanted to do a show about a black family, but it’s also relatable to different kinds of families.”

He went on to say that this show is about a black family, but the desire to preserve your culture and pass it on to your kids is a universal concept that crosses races.

In fact, part of the sell to ABC included star Anthony Anderson‘s experience with his mixed-race son who said he didn’t “feel black.” But, in the end Anderson told him that his experience of being black was different from his father’s. And then, Anderson’s son asked for a Bar Mitzvah for his 13th birthday. Anderson ended up throwing him a Bro-Mitzvah.

Also read: ABC Fall Premiere Dates: ‘Scandal,’ ‘Grey’s,’ ‘SHIELD’ and ‘Revenge’ Returns

“Black-ish” premieres Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 9:30/8:30C.