There’s little doubt that Hollywood is finally beginning to elevate diverse voices in the industry. While the process has taken way too long, we’re lucky that it is finally occurring. One of the primary voices that emerged over the past few years is Kenya Barris. He’s been an important figure on several big projects, with many not even realizing the role he’s played. However, Netflix clearly understands his value and made a move to lock him up. Now, Barris signed a deal with the streaming platform to produce content for Netflix with a multiyear deal.
Barris is not a household name, but his projects have become some of the biggest in helping the shift towards diversity. The writer initially earned fans when he helped develop “America’s Next Top Model” in the mid-2000s. He also created the successful series “The Game” for BET in 2006. The series quickly blew up and remains one of BET’s best original programs to date. However, Barris took a big step with “black-ish” on ABC. The series quickly caught on with audiences and featured great performances. Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross have received considerable acclaim for their work.
“blackish” has been an Emmy favorite. For the 2nd year in a row, Anderson, Ellis Ross, Wanda Sykes and the series have been nominated for Best Comedy Series. The success of the show resulted in a spin-off “grown-ish” hitting Freeform this year. The two series give Barris’ team the ability to tell different stories that are socially relevant.
Finally, Barris’ script for “Girls Trip” gave its performers some strong material. He also scripted the upcoming “Shaft” film due out in 2019. With his prolific work output, it’s no surprise Netflix wants to be in business with him. The reported total of the deal is $100 million, so clearly they have big plans for Barris in the future.