Showrunner Kenya Barris is well-known for creating the hilarious -ish franchise, a series of television sitcoms focused on the past (mixed-ish), present (black-ish) and future (grown-ish) of the eclectic Johnson family. In his brand new upcoming series #blackAF, art will imitate life; Barris will step in front of the cameras for the first time, turning the cameras on himself and his fictional family to explore the nuance of Black culture on a personal level.
The Netflix original will star Barris as himself, a successful screenwriter and director navigating the glitz and glam of Beverly Hills. #blackAF is his life story, but fictionalised; Rashida Jones stars as his wife Joya, the grounding force to Barris’ sometimes neurotic but ever-creative temperament. Together, the couple raise their rambunctious children to be Black (and proud) in the Hollywood Hills.
Just says ahead of the series' world premiere, Netflix is offering an exclusive first look into the eventful lives of the Barris family right here on Refinery29:
The series, originally titled Black Excellence, is meant to provide one contextual representation of black family life. Like many of the recent works in Barris' extensive filmography, #blackAF aims to to put blackness at the forefront of the narrative, normalising it amidst a landscape still dominated by white storytelling.
As explained in the featurette, Barris' purpose in the creation of #blackAF is clear: starting a dialogue. "If it can make people see things and ask questions and be more comfortable with things than they were before they watched [the show], and it makes them closer to one more person or one more concept...then I feel like, in some aspects, [#blackAF] inches us a little bit closer to being better than we were before."
Co-star Jones fully agrees. "I'm hoping that people watch this and, however they relate or don't relate to it, they can have a conversation with their friends or family about something that would have never been a topic of conversation otherwise," the actress explained in the featurette. "And then I hope they laugh."
The full first season of the witty and insightful family sitcom will be available for streaming this Friday 17th April on Netflix.