Kenya Barris

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Creator, Executive Producer & Co-Showrunner, Black-ish & Grown-ish, Actor & Creator, #blackAF

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Kenya Barris: Biography at a Glance

  • Kenya Barris is known as the creator, executive producer, and co-showrunner of Black-ish and Grown-ish and the creator and star of #blackAF.
  • Black-ish was nominated for 26 Primetime Emmy Awards over its run and received a Television Academy Honor. 
  • Barris also co-wrote the summer blockbuster Girls Trip, which grossed over $140 million worldwide and he is set to write and direct a reimagination of The Wizard of Oz.
  • Founded Khalabo, a full-service creative collective that produces content across an array of mediums with the goal of creating a space where collaboration is fostered and new talent can thrive.
  • Barris and Khalabo released their first project in the documentary space with Netflix’s Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali.


Kenya Barris is an award-winning writer, producer, and director whose innovative approach to comedy has firmly cemented his place as one of Hollywood’s great modern storytellers. With a focus on socially conscious storytelling that reflects our culture and tackles contemporary issues and themes, Barris’ work has earned him praise for telling poignant and powerful stories that make audiences more aware of the world around them while simultaneously making them laugh.

Along with his creative vision and personal endeavors, Barris has a deep passion and commitment to mentorship that has become a staple of how he approaches his career and his company Khalabo Ink Society. A full-service creative collective that produces content across an array of mediums, Khalabo was founded by Barris with the continued goal of creating a space where collaboration is fostered and new talent can thrive. With this as a pillar of its creative process, Barris has grown the production company with the goal of establishing it as a creative collective, where collaboration is fostered and new talent can thrive.

Barris and Khalabo Ink Society continue to build their creative imprint, expanding their work across genres and into other mediums of storytelling. Among such projects is We the People, a groundbreaking animated series of music videos covering a range of U.S. civics lessons that debuted earlier this year. Produced alongside Barack and Michelle Obama and creator Chris Nee, the series combines the power of music and animation with the hope of inspiring, educating and activating a new generation of young Americans. This September, Barris and Khalabo released their first project in the documentary space with Netflix’s Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali, a documentary feature exploring the extraordinary friendship between Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali directed by Marcus A. Clarke. The powerhouse creative’s upcoming slate also includes Entergalatic, a first-of-its-kind adult animated music series currently in production that is based on Grammy Award-winning artist Kid Cudi’s upcoming album of the same name; a comedy feature co-written by Barris and Jonah Hill, with Barris set to direct and Hill attached to star that is currently in pre-production; and a reboot of the family comedy Cheaper By The Dozen starring Gabrielle Union and Zach Braff that is in post. Additionally, Barris has several high-profile projects at various stages of development, which include: a documentary feature about the life and career of groundbreaking civil rights attorney Ben Crump; a film about comedic icon Richard Pryor that Barris will write, direct and produce; the series adaptation of the best-selling novel from 50 Cent and Robert Greene The 50th Law; an animated movie inspired by the songs and music of Bob Marley; a remake of the classic sports comedy White Men Can't Jump, and a feature-length musical about Juneteenth with Pharrell Williams, among others.

Among Barris’ current and recent television slate is the Netflix original comedy #BlackAF and the multi-series “-ish” franchise, which includes the flagship Peabody Award-winning sitcom black-ish (ABC) and spin-off series Grown-ish (Freeform), Mixed-ish (ABC) and the recently green-lit Old-ish. Additionally, in 2019, Barris ventured into variety sketch comedy with the Netflix original series Astronomy Club, starring and named after the first all-black house comedy team at New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Barris also co-created the successful reality competition series America’s Next Top Model, which has since been syndicated in 49 countries with 21 internationally formatted offshoots. Equally busy on the feature film side, Barris’ most recent release was Coming 2 America, the highly anticipated sequel to John Landis’ 1980s classic starring Eddie Murphy, which shattered viewership records when it debuted on Amazon Prime Video earlier this year; even earning the streamer its first number 1 finish on the Nielsen weekly streaming charts. Barris’ recent film credits also include the box-office megahit Girls Trip, Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation of Roald Dahl's The Witches, the most recent installment of the Shaft franchise, the comedy Little starring Marsai Martin and Issa Rae, and Barbershop 3: The Next Cut.

Beyond the impact he is making through his professional work, Barris has aimed to make an impact through his philanthropic endeavors, as well. In 2018, he was honored with the ACLU’s Bill of Rights Award in recognition of this commitment to providing opportunities to young and emerging talent, particularly women and people of color, as well as for the contributions he has made in supporting civil liberties and social justice as a member of the organization’s Board of Trustees. Additionally, last year the Producers Guild of America and Humanitas Prize recognized Barris for the greater impact of his work. The Producers Guild presented Barris with its 2019 Visionary Award recognizing him as a trailblazing storyteller whose work has advanced and expanded the representation of diverse perspectives within mainstream media. As for Humanitas Prize, Barris was selected to receive the organization’s Voice for Change Award, which honors an individual in the film and television industry who makes high-level, sometimes challenging, choices to create positive systemic change and stand up for ideals that may not be the norm, but benefit society. Also notable on a personal front, in 2018, Barris donated $1 million to establish the Kenya and Rainbow Barris Annual Scholarship Award at his Alma Matter, Clark Atlanta University, where he also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Half of the donation will support mass media arts majors, with the remaining half serving as an annual scholarship for biology students.

Barris currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and their six children.

Excellent feedback! Kenya had great chemistry with our moderator. Easy conversational flow and a nice personal connection.


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