Folks on social media already have been vocal about expressing their reservations about writer and director Kenya Barris. In recent years, the “Black-ish” creator has been widely accused of overly representing the Black spectrum’s fair tone side and forcing a “swirl agenda” onto viewers. More scrutiny came with the release of his Netflix series “Black AF,” with most of the cast members being of a lighter skin tone and biracial. The same has proved true for his spin-off shows such as “Mixed-Ish” and “Grown-Ish.”
The 46-year-old was recently tapped for the remake of “Cheaper by the Dozen,” a 2003 family film (which was a spinoff of a 1950s version) — a move that has made for more backlash.
The comedy, which centers around a couple trying to juggle marriage, careers and 12 children, will star actress Gabrielle Union as the mother and actor Zach Braff as the father.
Following the announcement, critics took to social media, where they aired out their complaints about Barris’ decisions to write stories centered around biracial families over all-Black families.
“We have GOT to release the shackles that is Kenya Barris writing mixed family stories 150 different ways,” one person wrote on Twitter. “Imagine how tired we are.”
“When will I know peace,” another critic vented. “That man is not RIGHT! kenya barris has to be defunded! something has to be done we will never be free.”
“Kenya barris and tyler perry literally different sides of the same coin like how do they have so much pull in the industry when their stuff is like THAT. oh my gosh makes me want to scream,” a fourth stated.
A fourth person referred back to a quote from an interview where the producer addressed the criticism, saying, “I’m… not gonna make up a fake family that genetically makes no sense just for the sake of trying to fill quotas. I LOVE MY PEOPLE.” He added, “[And] everything I does [sic] reflects that love. But to cast people like some kinda skin color Allstar game would actually do more harm than good.”
Barris went on to explain that his cast is reflective of his family members and that “they face discrimination from others outside our culture and I don’t want them to also see it from US.”
The person quoted the response, writing, “Please never forget when Kenya Barris said this when defending his lily light and bright ass cast for BlackAF…” They added, “Colorism is Rashida Jones playing an Italian woman on the Office then a Black matriarch years later, but calling out the bullshit is ‘divisive’ so lemme go nap.”
Barris hasn’t responded to the latest batch of criticism. “Cheaper by the Dozen” is set to debut on the Disney Plus streaming service sometime in 2022.