CREDIT DRAMA: The cast of Black-ish
THE CREATIVE mind behind popular sitcom Black-ish, is being sued by a former friend who claims the show was partially his idea.
Kenya Barris has been accused of lifting the Emmy-nominated show’s concept from an unproduced pilot he cowrote with fellow director Bryan Barber.
Barris is the credited creator of the huge ABC hit, starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross,
According to Barber, who also directed several Outkast videos, the pilot of their sitcom had been written for VH1 and was based in part on Barber’s life, focusing on the “successful, creative, and affluent black man working in the predominantly white entertainment industry.”
In a lawsuit Barber filed, he claimed he and Barris became friends while attending Clark University in 1996, and formed a partnership a decade later when they were writers under the William Morris Agency and came up with a script focusing on the “black experience”.
SUED: Kenya Barris
In the the suit, Barber said the script was based on his life experiences, and he and Barris agreed to exploit it for their benefit. But the pair parted ways before 2014, when Black-ish debuted.
Barber says Black-ish has lots of similarities to the original show idea — such as the lead character driving a luxury car, wearing high-end clothes, and marrying a bi-racial doctor named Rainbow.
He’s suing Barris and the show’s production company for at least $1 million. He's also demanding writer and creator credits.