The teaser trailer for Kenya Barris’ new Netflix film “You People” recently debuted, and it appears to have reignited critics’ concerns over the director’s alleged obsession with presenting predominantly biracial characters and interracial relationships in his projects.
“You People” stars an ensemble cast, including legendary comedian Eddie Murphy, Nia Long, Lauren London and Jonah Hill. According to the synopsis, the satirical comedy film follows new couple Ezra Cohen and Amira Mohammed, played by Hill and London, respectively, who meet after he accidentally gets into her car.
The pair quickly bond and soon fall in love, only to confront societal expectations and generational differences amid their families’ clashing cultures, including Cohen’s “progressive and semi-woke Jewish parents” and “Amira’s unyielding yet concerned Muslim parents,” played by Murphy and Long.
The film will mark Barris’s directorial debut, but the preview already has ruffled feathers as many critics on social media have pointed out what they consider to be a recurring theme in his work as well as other casting discrepancies, including one Twitter user who claimed, “One thing for certain, two things for sure: the sun rises in the east, the earth is round, and Kenya Barris will never stop beating you over the head with his biracial obsession.”
Another person wrote, “I hope Kenya Barris eventually heals from whatever happened to him that has him feeling the need to make every project he does defend interracial relationships and being biracial. Cause at this point, I’m starting to think his ancestors were THE Loving v. Virginia.”
“I hope Kenya Barris heals one day,” commented a third critic.
“Lauren London is supposed to be Nia Long’s daughter?!?” another critic said. “Someone needs to stop Kenya Barris. We’re tired of the evolution of his marriage.
Fans were initially made aware of the project last year when it was described as taking a modern look at the themes tackled in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” which originally starred the late Sidney Poitier.
Barris has addressed accusations surrounding colorism in the past, noting that he tries to “duplicate a version of what my family was,” he has said. “It speaks to the idea that there is so much colorism in the world. … So I take the good with the bad.”
“You People” debuts on Netflix on Jan. 23 and was co-written by Barris and Hill. Additional cast members include actress and comedian Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Sam Jay, Mike Epps, Molly Gordon, Rhea Perlman, Deon Cole and David Duchovny.