BLACK-ISH Creator Kenya Barris Calls for Country to Engage in Difficult Dialogues1:19 AM
|Photo by Jake West for Ithaca College|
Barris did not shy away from the political in his acceptance speech, calling the election a “gut punch” for many Americans who had hoped for a different result.
“I think that we can really come together and use whatever experiences we have to make the next 4, 8, 12, 20 years of our lives a more enriched, a more fulfilling and a more honest and open community for all of us and our children,” Barris said.Established by Ithaca College, the award honors Rod Serling and his pioneering efforts in the television industry and recognizes a modern media professional whose work raises awareness of prejudice, inequality and society’s changing social norms. Serling taught at the college from 1967 to 1975.
Barris praised Serling, noting that as a child he often spent Thanksgiving watching a marathon of Serling’s “Twilight Zone” on television.
“I think that I’ve been given a unique opportunity to tell a story and start conversations, and I think that’s the most important thing that any artist can do,” Barris said.“Black-ish” star Marcus Scribner introduced Barris.
“Kenya trusts the audience to make their own intelligent and thoughtful decisions and come to their own conclusions about what they’ve seen,” Scribner said.Diane Gayeski, dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, also made introductory remarks.
“Kenya Barris is the person who deserves this, and the person who in our minds takes Rod’s legacy and moves it forward and lives that every day,” Gayeski said.Barris is the second person to be honored with the Serling Award. The inaugural award was presented to David Simon, creator of the acclaimed HBO series “The Wire.”
Under ABC Studios, Barris works as the executive producer and co-showrunner on “black-ish” and is the co-creator and executive producer on two upcoming pilots for ABC: spy dramedy “Unit Zero” featuring Toni Collette, and the political family comedy “Libby & Malcolm” featuring Felicity Huffman and Courtney B. Vance. He’s previously worked on shows including CBS’s “Listen Up,” FOX’s “I Hate My Teenage Daughter” and CW’s “The Game” and “Girlfriends.”
Barris is also a part of several projects under 20th Century Fox Film, such as “Uptown Saturday Night,” “Cheaper by the Dozen” and “Stir Crazy.”