Kenya Barris Exits $100 Million Netflix Deal & Signs With New BET Studios: I Want To Do In-Your-Face Sh*t
Kenya Barris revealed that he stepped away from Netflix because he wanted to do “in your face sh*t.” Kenya Barris, 46, is a film and television mogul who is well-known for his popular series Black-ish and its spin-offs Grown-ish and Mixed-ish. He is also one of the writers of the popular film Girls Trip. During a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter,
Kenya Barris revealed what ultimately led him to sever his ties with Netflix. According to the cover story, Barris officially stepped away from his $100 million Netflix deal this past January, however, things between Barris and the popular streaming service had reportedly been off for some time. When speaking on the business split Barris said,
“I think a lot of people thought I got fired or I quit, like ‘F*ck this,’ over some kind of beef with Netflix.”
He then shared that if he stayed at Netflix he wasn’t even sure if they would have renewed his $100 million deal. Barris also alleged that Netflix wanted him to be a more commercial-friendly producer while he wanted to push the envelope more.
“I’ll call this a diversity play, in some aspects, because it’s important to call a spade a spade. It’s a special time in this industry if you’re Black and you have something to say.”
“I want to do in-your-face sh*t. I want to sell to everybody — and if you don’t want to work with me, I’m not saying that you’re racist, but other people might.”
Barris didn’t stop airing out his problems with Netflix there. He continued and claimed that Netflix was seemingly lukewarm when it came to him creating more exciting content.
“I just don’t know that my voice is Netflix’s voice. The stuff I want to do is a little bit more edgy, a little more highbrow, a little more heady, and I think Netflix wants down the middle… Netflix became CBS.”
In addition to that, he claimed Netflix executives stopped him from having a podcast deal with Spotify. However, even though things didn’t work out between Barris and Netflix the duo will still be teaming up together in the future to turn his now-canceled Netflix series, #blackAF, into fictional family vacation films.
During the interview, Barris addressed critics who say he creates movies and TV shows for white people. He said,
“That’s Hollywood. That’s the people who made the movies I love. Why would I not want them to like what I do? People are like, ‘You’re tap dancing.’ And I’m like, ‘Am I tap dancing, or am I wanting Michael Jordan to think I’m good, and I’m LeBron James?’”
Barris may be out of his Netflix deal but he definitely isn’t down for the count. The writer now has a $100 million deal with BET and is helping the network create a new Black-owned studio. When speaking about BET asking him to be a partner in their new Black-owned studio he said,
“I was like, ‘What the f*ck is happening? It was not the conversation I expected to have in any way, shape or form, but I said, ‘The short answer is yes.’”
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