Kenya Barris And His Ties With The LGBTQ Community

360 previously announced that black-ish creator Kenya Barris was tied to the remake of The Wizard Of Oz that was originated by the revered late Judy Garland.

When it was announced that Barris was attached to write and direct a remake of the classic, social media’s response was more of, “Really, bro?”

The movie will be distributed through Warner Brothers. MGM was the original studio behind the beloved film. 

“[The Wizard of Oz] was an allegory and a reflection of the way the world was at the time with things like the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl,” he said.

Barris continued,

“Now we’re going to turn a mirror on where we’re at right now and take disparate characters from the LGBTQ community, from different cultural communities and socioeconomic communities, and tell a story that reflects the world. I think this is the best time to do that,” per Variety

However, while at The Breakfast Club, the director broke down the correlation of reimaging the film with LGBTQ characters as it relates to his personal life.

He opened up to the trio about learning about his daughter’s sexuality and more, 

“This is a great time to sort of like, take and turn what’s going on in our world. Saying mine is like based in Inglewood, something happened.

The Hollywood powerhouse further explained,

[Dorothy] ends up in Underhood, which is like under, but I want everybody in it. I want [characters] from different socioeconomic backgrounds, cultural backgrounds, black, brown, Asian, [and] reflective of the world.”

He added, 

“I feel like to have something reflective [of the] world that doesn’t have LGBTQ characters in there, it feels like that’s not reflective of the world.”

Charlemagne interjected and said, “The lion was sassy like that, though.” Barris responded,

“Yeah, he was. And nobody talked about it.”

That transitioned into the writer telling his personal journey after discovering one of his six kids was involved in a same-gender loving relationship. 

When DJ Envy asked about the director’s daughter’s “coming out,” the 48-year-old powerhouse admitted that his daughter was undergoing health issues while a student at New York University (NYU).

In between stressful moments, losing weight and parts of her hair, Barris said his daughter requested compassion in support of taking time off from her studies, 

“She was like, ‘I think I need to take a semester off.’ And I was like, ‘No, you don’t.’ I was like, ‘That’s some white s—t.’ Like what I’m saying? I’m like, ‘[Black people] don’t do that.’”

He continued, 

“She was losing weight. And she goes and tests. She has a marker for possible autoimmune. Damn, it was a pandemic. I remember going out and crying in the hallway because we only had one person in time. And I was like, ‘God, whatever you need to do, give it to me. She’s just starting her life…’”

The sitcom director said that after conversing with his daughter about her interests and the revelation of a relationship she’s been, anxiety remnants were subsiding, 

“I felt like, dude, like, the pain and the weight she had to carry around in general in the world, and she has blossomed. She really blossomed. And I just was like, it meant so much to me that we could have that conversation…”

The caring father highlighted that had he been in his daughter’s shoes, that transparency may not have come across with the same understanding, 

“I felt like if that conversation had been had with my mom, it would have ruined that relationship,” Barris said.

Press play below:

Video edited on Kapwing

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Emil Flemmon

Èmil Flemmon is the Managing Editor for the 360 Baseline Movement. The Atlanta-based editor, red carpet interviewer, writer, and photographer, has had a career spanning over a decade in the editorial industry. His work has been featured in Kontrol Magazine, The Atlanta Voice, Blavity, Aspire TV, REVOLT, The Jasmine Brand, and Where Y'at Magazine in New Orleans. His mission is to help journalists and publicists have better connectivity and relationships exclusively through the movement.

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