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Kenya Barris

Many of the popular shows on television today with lead African American characters don’t deal explicitly with race. For instance, Scandal and How To Get Away with Murder. What motivated you to write a show that, thematically, openly discusses race and black culture?

For all the amazing things that I felt from The Cosby Show growing up, the one thing I looked at was that they sort of [looked over the fact that they were black].  I felt like every day as an African American; as a black person, you’re never not aware of [race]. It’s part of who you are. It’s part of the people who deal with you. So why would you do a show in a time when we have a black president and choose to ignore [race]? That doesn’t mean it has to be a black show, but it is about a black family. It’s not done in an ostracizing way. To me, the idea of talking about it makes it more inclusive. Conversation is part of what makes America work at its best, and that’s what we were trying to do; start the conversation.

–written by Rebecca Nichloson


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