Kenya Barris Opens Up About The Controversial ‘Black-Ish’ Episode That Prompted His Exit From Disney
TV juggernaut Kenya Barris is finally opening up about the creative sparring with ABC that ultimately ended his deal with the network.
In the words of Jay-Z, Disney “lost one.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the “Black-Ish” creator divulged details about the “Please Baby Please” episode that was canned last season and his hopes for his new Netflix deal.
The controversial episode called for Anthony Anderson’s character, Dre, to tell his newborn, Devante, a bedtime story about the political and racial atmosphere across the globe. The episode, titled: “Please Baby Please,” reportedly featured footage of Trump, the Charlottesville KKK clash, and Colin Kaepernick’s NFL kneeling protest.
“When you’re putting a baby to sleep, you’re trying to soothe whatever anxieties they’re having,” Barris told THR about the shelved episode, “So, this was about me trying to pat the butt of the country and soothe people.”
But “the people” would never get to be rocked to sleep by Barris’ creative approach to heavy political topics on TV. Unable to reach a compromise with the network, the episode would never air, and Barris would begin the process of unraveling his deal with Disney.
“I know there was some concern about partisanship,” he said, “and the way the episode was angled and the balance in terms of some of the stories. On network TV, one of the things I’ve learned is that you have to talk about things from both sides.”
“I don’t know that I would have been as useful to them as they’d need me to be after that,” he told THR.
Barris turned his attention towards Netflix, a platform where he feels he can create more unapolegtically.
“If I was going to step out, I wanted to do something where I could take off all the straps and really hang out of the plane. I want to be Netflix with attitude — loud, bold and unapologetic.”