I was so truly excited about going to Los Angeles to visit the set of black-ish, my new favorite show Wednesday nights at 930 pm EST on ABC. I became a fan after the first episode when I was able to see for myself how a black family plays out what it means to live in a world where we as blacks constantly fight and claw our way to the top, while balancing our blackness without LOSING our identify and self-worth along the way.
It was a delight to talk to the kids in the cast behind Blackish: Marcus Scribner as Andre Johnson Jr, Yara Shahidi as Zoey Johnson, Miles Brown and Jack Johnson and Marsi Martin as Diane Johnson.
And it was an honor to meet black-ish creator Kenya Barris.
Put these kids faces in the dictionary under what “EXCELLENCE” looks like. Coupled with the fact that they’re cute, well-mannered, cool, calm, polite and collected, then you definitely have a pot of perfect-kids-potpourri or at least a collection of well-raised ones. There’s nothing like meeting well-mannered kids and we even got to meet the architects behind those babies—their smart and savvy parents.
When Marcus, Yara, Miles and Marsi walked in, they were bright and bubbly and so eager to talk to the 25 bloggers during the #ABCTVEvent. And it was a joy being in their presence.
Here’s the Q&A that followed:
What’s it’s like working on the set?
Yara – I love working with all these veteran actors, it’s so much fun. The best part is that it doesn’t even feel like work. I woke up today and was telling someone oh wait I have to go to work today? Oh ok, then I got on set and I was having a dandy fun time. It doesn’t seem like work at all.
Marcus – Yeah like Yara said it’s just an amazing experience working on the set with these actors. I come to the set and learn something new from them each day. Lets be honest he says, these are comedic geniuses (laughs).
Marsi – They are like our mentors in acting now. It doesn’t feel like working, everyday on the set it feels like we’re family, like we’re really a family. Acting with Anthony, Tracee, Lawrence, it feels like a real family. We bond like family. She ends by sayings, together we’re unstoppable!
Do you have a scene or episode that was your favorite?
Group –The Pilot – Marcus adds, it was a new experience of us all working together and bonding and learning about each other. I really liked that experience.
Are your characters on the show anything like you are in real life?
Yara – I’m nothing like Zoey at all. I like reading books and I usually always forget to get my phone. Sometimes I forget to tweet about the show, so I wouldn’t say I was like Zoey at all. Fashion wise I would say I am into fashion though.
Marcus – I play lacrosse which is similar to field hockey. I feel like I am close to my character Andre Jr.
Miles – I’m very close to my character in real life.`I like playing sports and having fun like Jack.
Marsi – Like my character Diane, I am very much into school and being smart. I love social media. I love the computer a lot. I am always on the computer learning and on social media. I am kind of quirky. I am an only child, so this is my first experience with having siblings and I really like it.
As far as support, the kids have tremendous support from viewers like myself and their family members like grandmas and grandpas who are always ready to put the word out or punch somebody out if they’re not watching like one of the kids told us. And Marcus said his grandmom who is in sales always finishes a sale with a black-ish promo, urging consumers to watch her grandson’s show.
Kenya Barris walked into our Blogger ambush to a roaring applause! He started by talking to us about the definition of black-ish (My question.)
Kenya– I think for me the world is a lot more homogenized than it used to be when I was growing up. I grew up in Compton and for me, my kids aren’t growing up like I did and how I use to think it would meant to be black. My kids aren’t living like that, they are a little bit black-ish and they are little bit less than what I thought being black was and when I would look at their friends who aren’t black, they were a little bit more black than my kids are. I just think we are just a blend of what America is instead of being black, white, asian or any other race.
Which of the stories are based on your family life?
Kenya – Which one? Huh, there are so many. The show is really about my life, Laurance, Anthony, all of our lives. We all share about our family experiences and use it to create the show. I have a son he thinks he’s Jack. It’s an amazing blessing to see a show come from my life. My wife’s name is actually Rainbow, I think it’s fun for them.
About KENYA BARRIS: Creator, Executive Producer
As a writer, Kenya Barris is known for his quick wit and unabashed sense of humor. Barris started out as a writer in 1998 and has worked on several television shows, including CBS’s “Listen Up,” The CW’s “The Game” and “Girlfriends,” and Fox’s “I Hate My Teenage Daughter.” He has also sold a number of pilots, including “America’s Next Top Model,” which he co-created and is currently shown in 49 countries with 21 internationally-formatted offshoots, as well as a ten-part mini-documentary music series entitled “Music Love” for Warner Brothers, that he is directing and executive producing with Michael Rapaport. The most recent projects that Barris wrote and created include, BET’s “The Start Up,” starring Diggy Simmons, and “We Got Next,” Hulu’s first half-hour comedy series. “black-ish” is loosely based on his own life. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Barris is married with five children and currently resides in Sherman Oaks, CA.
black-ish airs on ABC, Wednesdays at 9:30 ET / 8:30 CT. You can also live tweet with the cast on Wednesday using the hashtag #blackishABC