'Black-ish' Creator Kenya Barris on Walking a "Fine Line" for Difficult Discussions With Kids
"Police brutality is one that for me in particular, I had to have that conversation with my young sons, because they did not understand why the protestors were mad."
"We’re living in this world where there are so many images and things our kids can’t escape from," Kenya Barris told The Hollywood Reporter during the Comedy Showrunner Roundtable. "You have to learn how to talk to your kids about this."
"Police brutality is one that for me in particular, I had to have that conversation with my young sons, because they did not understand why the protestors were mad," said Barris, creator and showrunner of NBC's hit series, Black-ish. "I didn’t want my personal feelings about the police — and my wife has different feelings about it — to influence their experience."
"We’re in this world where there’s stuff with politics or there’s stuff with sexuality, everything, and how do you have these kind of talks with your kids and not let our experiences kind of scorch the earth for them?" Barris asked.
"I don’t want to tell my kids to not be aware that police brutality exists because they’re young black men and they may have some experiences," he said, explaining the anxiety many black parents face in their homes.
Barris said he was categorized as one thing early on in his career — as "the black guy who wrote for black guys."
"That’s what [Black-ish] was actually created around," he said. "In the pitch [Dre, played by Anthony Anderson] was a television writer. Often, a joke in the pilot would be, 'How do you think a black guy would say hello?'"
More roundtables featuring comedy and drama actors and actresses, drama showrunners, and reality hosts and producers will roll out throughout June in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter starting June 26 on Sundance TV, with the premiere of the "Comedy Showrunners Roundtable" on Sunday, July 31. And look for clips at THR.com/roundtables with full episodes on THR.com after broadcast.