African American studies and television scholar Christine Acham interviews Kenya Barris the creator of the top-rated primetime network show Black-ish (ABC, 2014—). Acham tuned in during the 2014 political climate of #BlackLivesMatter to find a show that veered so far from television's traditionally monolithic or culturally void versions of blackness. Her conversation with Kenya Barris took place on June 23, 2017, in Burbank, California. They discussed Black-ish in detail, and also engaged questions of politics, the specificity of black storytelling, the contemporary “Black Television Renaissance,” and the pressures and responsibilities facing black creatives in the industry. At press time, Barris had gone on to create a new spinoff show, Grown-ish, and to collaborate with some of its writers to launch yet another series, Bright Futures, a twenty-something comedy, also at ABC.
Black-ish: Kenya Barris on Representing Blackness in the Age of Black Lives Matter
Christine Acham is Associate Professor of the Practice of Cinematic Arts at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Revolution Televised: Prime Time and the Struggle for Black Power (University of Minnesota Press, 2005) and several articles on African American film, television documentaries, and web series. She codirected with Clifford Ward the award-winning documentary Infiltrating Hollywood: The Rise and Fall of the Spook Who Sat by the Door (2011).
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Christine Acham; Black-ish: Kenya Barris on Representing Blackness in the Age of Black Lives Matter. Film Quarterly 1 March 2018; 71 (3): 48–57. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2018.71.3.48
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