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When Kenya Barris announced a reimagining of The Wizard of Oz with Dorothy in Inglewood, social media had copious questions about the Wiz-ish update

Variety x Audible Cocktails and Conversations, Part 1

Source: Variety / Getty

Whether viewers like it or not, the You People writer and director stays booked and busy and the prolific filmmaker recently discussed a long slate of upcoming projects at the Sundance Film Festival with the Variety Studio presented by Audible. The news of Barris’ plans to remake The Wizard of Oz seemingly broke the internet with criticisms and clapbacks.

In Barris’ Black AF spin on the classic film, Dorothy is from Inglewood like Barris. She “lives in the Bottoms,” a large apartment complex also featured on Snowfall.

“The original ‘Wizard of Oz’ took place during the Great Depression and it was about self-reliance and what people were going through. I think this is the perfect time to switch the characters and talk about what someone imagines their life could be,” Barris said.

“It’s ultimately a hero’s journey, someone thinks something’s better than where they’re at, and they go and realize that where they’re at is where they should be. I want people to be proud and happy about where they’re from. But I want the world to take a look at it and I hope that will come through.”

Barris followed up by proactively addressing the decision to continue mining existing classics with “a different point of view.”

“I’m still a believer in IP. I think I get s**t for it sometimes, but I believe that the idea of some of those great stories – stories are all told again and again and again. So having the opportunity to take some of those IPs and tell them from a different point of a view is a gift that I hopefully keep getting,” he said.


Maybe it’s because of remake and reboot fatigue, or perhaps the fact that The Wiz is already a beloved classic, but the comments were not on Kenya’s side. Although several days of conversation after Rap Sh!t‘s cancelation led to demands for more Black stories by Black creatives, this isn’t what critical comments seemed to have in mind.

Check out the social media reactions to Kenya Barris taking on iconic stories like Richard Pryor’s life story and taking Dorothy down the Black-ish brick road after the flip!

Social Media Reacts To Kenya Barris’ Upcoming Richard Pryor Series And Remake Of The Wizard of Oz 

Variety Sundance Studio, Presented by Audible - Day 1

Source: Variety / Getty

To the surprise of many users on X (formerly Twitter), The Wizard of Oz isn’t the only iconic story Kenya Barris is taking on. The TV titan will also direct a biographical series about comedy king Richard Pryor.

“It’s a 10-part limited biographical series that takes a look from cradle to grave. From his earliest upbringing — he grew up in a ho house, or a house of ill repute — and became, at one point, the biggest star in the world,” he said per Variety.

Barris is proud to do the legend justice in the project he is currently developing.

“It is my baby. I love it. He is my comedy god. A super flawed guy, but who everything, to this day, the comedy that we remember — even including [Dave] Chappelle — is derivative of what he started,” he said.

“That honest, reflecting, observational look at what the world is and the differences between us that actually make us more similar than we are apart. I think telling his story and letting people see things that they didn’t know about him is something that I’m super excited to bring to life.”

One thing’s for sure: these new projects will have everyone talking. Many have a soft spot in their hearts for Kenya Barris’s TV shows like Black-ish and Grown-ish, which parallel parts of his life. Maybe a Wizard of Oz based on his background will be another homegrown hit.

The announcement set X ablaze with questions of “Who asked for this?” and demands to “Stop him!” The viral conversation even sparked speculation about a “biracial cinematic universe.”

Check out some of the reactions to Kenya Barris’ Wizard of Oz, which were Mixed-ish at best.





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