Kenya Barris, the creator of ABC’s black-ish, is reportedly being sued by a friend from college who claims he co-wrote the script based on his life.
TMZ is reporting Bryan Barber has sued Barris, the creator of black-ish, which stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross. Barber says he and Barris were college friends. The lawsuit obtained by TMZ states Barber and Barris became writers at the same time and both had agents at William Morris Agency in Hollywood.
They formed a partnership in 2006, brainstorming a script about a show focusing on the “black experience” through the perspective of a “successful creative and affluent black man who works in a mostly white entertainment industry.”
Viewers of black-ish are familiar with the premise: This is Anderson’s character, who is an advertising executive trying to raise his children with a sense of cultural identity despite distractions from the show’s characters and upper-middle-class setting.
In the lawsuit, Barber states the script is modeled after portions of his life, and claims that he and Barris agreed to use his life for a shared profit. Problem is, they parted ways sometime before ABC started airing black-ish in September 2014. Barber claims the show has a lot of similarities to what they co-created years ago. For example, Anderson's character drives luxury cars and married a bi-racial wife named Dr. Rainbow Johnson.
Barber is suing the show’s production company and Barris for at least a million dollars. He also wants writer and creator credits.