Kenya Barris Responds to Critics Who Slammed ‘Black Excellence’ Casting
Photo by Christian Alminana/Getty Images For Cannes Lions

Kenya Barris, creator of hit shows, including Black-ish and Mixed-ish, is getting criticized over the casting of his new Netflix series, Black Excellence.

The series, which is again semi-autobiographical, follows an upper middle class Black family as they navigate their world and friendships after the parents become rich.

It’s Barris’ first series in his wider three-year, eight-figure deal with Netflix after leaving ABC in headline-making news.

When a photo of the cast, which features Rashida Jones, Genneya Walton, Scarlet Spencer,  Iman Benson, Justin Claiborne, and Ravi Cabot-Conyers, went viral last week, many online noticed that the cast is decidedly lighter skinned.

It didn’t take long for others to also take a magnifying look at the casts for his other shows, noting that they also feature fair Black actors.

Barris, presumably having heard the critiques, responded on Saturday, writing in now-deleted tweets that he’s only writing what he knows.

“I’m…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,” he wrote. “[And] everything I does [sic] reflects that love. But to cast people like some kinda skin color Allstar game would actually do more harm than good.”

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The executive producer wrote that he “hardly ever react[s] to social media but this cut me a little.”

Regarding the casting of his Black Excellence actors, “These kids look like my kids. My very Black REAL kids & they face discrimination every day from others outside our culture and I don’t want them to also see it from US.”

No word yet on when Black Excellence premieres on Netflix.


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