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Kenya Barris  

Screenwriter, ABC's "Black-ish", Producers Guild Visionary Award Winner, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing

Kenya Barris is a writer and producer who has made his mark on the small screen with hits such as "Black-ish" and its spin-off "Grown-ish."

Barris attended several high schools in Los Angeles and upon graduation attended UCLA for his freshman year. Obsessed with becoming the next Spike Lee and tiring of life in the city, Barris left Los Angeles for Atlanta, where he attended Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College, studying under the tutelage of Spike Lee’s mentor, Dr. Henry Eichelberger.

While in Atlanta, Barris wrote and directed the one-act play “Bopping,” which was produced by Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis for the Atlanta Theatrical Society. He also took to comedy at Earthquake’s Comedy Corner where he began to develop relationships with several comedians who would soon take center stage (Chris Tucker, Earthquake, Bernie Mack…).

Upon returning home to Los Angeles after graduation, Barris took a position as a writer’s assistant on the WB sitcom, “Sister /Sister”. It was there that Steve Stark took note of him and assisted him in entering the Paramount Comedy Writer’s Workshop. After leaving the program and receiving an episode on Sister/Sister, he was placed in the WGA Writer’s Trainee program on Fox’s, “The Keenan Ivory Wayan’s Show,” a late night talk/sketch show.

From there, Barris went on to work on several other short-run sketch shows and eventually, thanks to a feature script that was sold to Artists Production Group, he was placed with his life-long mentor, Felicia D. Henderson, on the Showtime drama series “Soul Food,” where he stayed four seasons. While on “Soul Food,” he co-created UPN’s breakout reality hit “America’s Next Top Model” with Tyra Banks.

After leaving “Soul Food” he returned to his comedy roots on shows like “Listen Up,” “Like Family,” and “The Game.” He also worked as a writer on CBS’s “Listen Up,” UPN/The CW’s “Girlfriends,” and Fox’s “I Hate My Teenage Daughter,” and directed and executive produced a ten-part mini-documentary music series entitled “Music Love” for Warner Brothers. Additionally, he wrote and created BET’s “The Start Up” and Hulu’s first half-hour comedy series “We Got Next.”

His first feature film, "Barbershop: The Next Cut," was released in 2016. Soon after, he signed a three-year deal with Netflix to produce series exclusively for the streaming service.

News


'Black-ish' Creator Kenya Barris Inks Multiyear Deal With ABC Studios

"Black-ish" creator Kenya Barris has inked an overall deal with ABC Studios, Variety has confirmed.

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