anthony anderson, EXCEL

Anthony Anderson Reveals Origin Of ‘Black-ish’ At Black Men XCEL Summit

Actor Anthony Anderson was honored at the 2023 Black Men XCEL Summit earlier this week. The yearly conference, hosted by BLACK ENTERPRISE, aims to celebrate Black men in business as well as provide networking opportunities and tools for  personal and professional development.

 “Our mission: To elevate and empower Black men to be recognized for their value and talent. The XCEL Awards, the nation’s highest recognition of the excellence and leadership of Black men, celebrates Black men in areas ranging from business and technology to sports and the arts,” according to BE.

The three-day event, held in Miami from Oct. 11 to Oct. 13, featured more than 40 speakers and a series of break-out sessions and leisure activities.

The actor participated in a fireside chat moderated by BE President Earl G. Graves Jr. The executive producer of the long-running TV show Black-ish discussed how he and show creator Kenya Burris developed the concept for the Emmy Award-winning show.  

“My 12-year-old son at the time had come home to me and said, ‘You know dad, I don’t feel Black,” recalled Anderson. His son went on to say that he didn’t see many Black families in his community or in his school. He also pointed out the difference in the lifestyles of his relatives living in South Central Los Angeles as well as the negative experiences of Black men that he saw on the news. 

 “And I was like, well, ‘Son, this is your Black experience,’” Anderson responded. He said that “…being able to go to private school, being able to live in the neighborhoods that you live in and being able to do the things that we do, that doesn’t make you any less Black.”

Having had a similar experience with his children, show creator Barris joked about having a Black-ish family. Barris decided that this would be the name of the show.

 “That was the only name that we came up with, that was the only name that we stuck with.” Anderson told the audience.

 The actor implied that they expected some pushback from the network for the show’s groundbreaking title.

 “We were willing to dig into the trenches and fight the network to keep our name and we don’t have to,” he shared.

Black-ish ran for eight seasons and received several awards, including a Peabody Award, three Critics Choice Awards, two Golden Globe, an Emmy, and six NAACP Image Awards, making it the highest-awarded show in NAACP Image Award History.

Anderson was also one of six honorees at this year’s XCEL summit. Others included Shannon Brown, CEO of BCS Consulting; David Grain, CEO of Grain Management; and Chris Womack, president and CEO of Southern Company.  

RELATED CONTENT: XCEL Lunch Rewind: A Conversation With Chris Womack And David Grain On Entrepreneurship Beginnings