TCA: ‘black-ish’ EP Barris on Word Diversity: ‘It’s Clouding the Conversation’

Complete Coverage: TCA Summer 2016

Beverly Hills, Calif. — black-ish creator and executive producer Kenya Barris doesn’t like the word diversity.

“I would be so happy when diversity is not a word,” said Barris Thursday while fielding a question about who watches the show during the TCA summer press tour. “I have the best job in the world and I am constantly having to talk about diversity. I have the best actors. It’s ridiculous.

The color of viewers’ skin doesn’t matter, he explained, saying that anyone can relate to the characters in the ABC show, which was nominated for three Emmys this year.

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“I am so tired of talking about diversity,” said Barris. “These are amazing, talented actors and amazing writers who give their all…It’s clouding the conversation."

Series star Tracee Ellis Ross added: “I think sometimes that those questions continue the conversation in a direction that does not help the conversation.”

This was not the first time the issue came up during TCA.

Related: Diversity Study—TV is Bad, Film is Worse

"I’m not really a fan of the word 'diversity' because I don’t really know what that means," said Victoria Mahoney, director of Starz's Survivor’s Remorse, Aug. 1 during a CTAM diversity panel. "Like, what’s diverse about inclusivity? It’s just allowing more storytelling from optics of human, just human."

Russ Parr, director/writer TV One's Ringsideechoed Mahoney's sentiments while on the same panel.

"These are everyday people that have everyday relationships that can’t be ignored anymore," said Parr. "And I think we’re going to take a chance, even if we have to lose money, to tell these stories. And I think that’s important."

Jessika Walsten

Jessika is an analyst for TVREV and Fabric Media. She previously served in various roles at Broadcasting + Cable, Multichannel News and NextTV, working with the brands since 2013. A graduate of USC Annenberg, Jessika has edited and reported on a variety of subjects in the media and entertainment space, including profiles on industry leaders and breaking news.