Kenya Barris is a writer and producer who was born on August 9, 1974, in Inglewood, California. He is best-known as the creator of the critically acclaimed comedy-drama ‘Black-ish‘. However, he has worked on many other projects, including co-creating and producing ‘America’s Next Top Model’, writing the movie ‘Girl’s Trip’ and co-executive producing ‘The Game’. He recently hit the headlines for making a move from ABC to Netflix. Although he is now well-known in the television and film industries, there are many things that people do not know about this talented man. Here are ten interesting facts about Kenya Barris that you probably did not know.
1. He Has a Large Family
Despite having a busy working life, Kenya Barris spends lots of quality time with his large family. He has been married to Dr. Rainbow Barris, an anaesthesiologist, since 1999 and the couple has six children together.
2. He is Sick of Talking About Diversity
When he is interviewed about his work, the most common theme he is asked about is diversity. He has repeatedly said in recent interviews that he is sick of talking about diversity and that he does not want this to be the focus of his work.
3. He Has an Honorary Doctorate
In 2018, Kenya Barris was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from the Clark Atlanta University. This was after Barris and his wife donated $1 million to the educational establishment.
4. He Has Worked with Childhood Friends
Throughout his career, Kenya Barris has worked with several of his childhood friends. The most notable of these is Tyra Banks, with whom he grew up in California. Banks and Barris co-created ‘America’s Next Top Model’.
5. He is Inspired by His Own Upbringing
Barris has said that his main source of inspiration is his own upbringing and personal experiences. He grew up in a poor family and began to compare his experiences as a child with the experiences of his own children, who live in a good neighborhood with both he and his wife earning decent money.
6. He Wanted to Become a Doctor
A career in the film industry wasn’t always something that Kenya Barris aspired towards. Growing up, he had actually wanted to pursue a career in medicine and become a doctor. This was because his favorite television series was ‘The Cosby Show‘ and he wanted to become a doctor like Bill Cosby.
7. He Worked as a Stand-Up Comedian
Barris now works behind the scenes in the capacity of a writer, a producer, or a director. However, he once tried to become a performer himself. After leaving university and obtaining a degree in film, radio, and television, he briefly worked as a stand-up comedian. However, he realized that this was not an area of the entertainment industry in which he would become successful and began to focus on writing.
8. He Collects Sneakers
Since he began making money in the film and television industries, Kenya Barris has been able to buy the things he loves. His very first expensive purchase was a Gucci leather jacket. He bought this as soon as he could afford to. However, his most expensive fashion-related passion is collecting sneakers as sneakers are something he loves.
9. He Has Written Three Television Movies
Although he is best-known for writing television series, he has also written the scripts for three television movies. The first television movie he wrote was ‘The Start Up’ in 2013. He then wrote ‘Barbershop: The Next Cut’ in 2016, followed by ‘Libby and Malcolm’ in 2017.
10. He Has Several Projects in the Pipeline
Kenya Barris has an exciting and busy schedule ahead of him over the coming year. He is currently working on an untitled project with Julie Bean and this project is currently in pre-production. He has written the remake of the 1970s action movie ‘Shaft’, which is currently in post-production and is set for release in 2019. Barris has also written the screenplay for the comedy movie ‘Coming 2 America’, which is the sequel to the 1988 Eddie Murphy comedy ‘Coming to America’. The sequel is currently in pre-production and the director is Jonathan Levine. It was also recently announced that Kenya Barris will write the screenplay for the comedy ‘Uptown Saturday Night’, which will star Kevin Hart.