'Black-ish's' Kenya Barris on Overcoming the "Gut Punch" of Trump's Election Victory
"There's no bridge to this conversation. We're building up for a civil war," the creator and showrunner told THR.
Black-ish creator and showrunner Kenya Barris was planning on taking a "back seat" in the writing process of the show's latest season, but then Donald Trump was elected president.
"Watching my kids break down, watching my wife just be like literally distraught, and my writer's room — coming into my writer's room and seeing us not being able to work," Barris told The Hollywood Reporter during the Comedy Showrunner Roundtable. "There's no bridge to this conversation. We're building up for a civil war. Millions and millions of people felt differently. We were off in a lot of different ways. Maybe we weren't listening, maybe they weren't listening, and maybe let's try to find a way."
Barris explained why he chose to stay on as the lead writer, and the inspiration behind how he came up with the show's election episode: "We needed to see how we can take this gut punch and really get up and fight together."
He went on to discuss his experience being "pigeonholed" in the industry. "I just have to get off a black show," Barris recalled thinking after working on Girlfriends and The Game. "I shouldn't have to think this way."
Barris added, "At the same time, I took the pigeonholing for me and embraced it. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I am 'The Black Guy.'"
More roundtables featuring comedy and drama actresses, actors, showrunners and reality creators will continue through July in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter starting May 25 on Sundance TV, and look for clips at THR.com/topic/roundtables with full episodes on THR.com after broadcast.