Nearly two years ago, “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris signed a $100 million overall deal with Netflix, placing him among a rarefied list of creators — which also includes Shonda Rhimes, Ryan Murphy and “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss — able to command a nine-figure production pact with one of the world’s biggest media juggernauts.
But “#BlackAF,” Barris’ first exclusive Netflix show, hasn’t attracted the same critical fawning that “Black-ish” did (and still does.) In “#BlackAF,” Kenya Barris portrays Kenya Barris, albeit a heightened and magnified version of Kenya Barris, as the patriarch of a black family dealing with new money in a modern world. The result has attracted decidedly mixed reviews, with a number of them profoundly negative. Variety noted that the sitcom “is the most outright mean-spirited series about family life in memory,” and that it “[depicts] lives and intellects choked off by big piles of stuff.”
In real life, Barris likely isn’t the overtly mean-spirited caricature that he portrays for Netflix cameras. He does, however, have a lot of nice stuff — including at least four expensive L.A.-area homes. Last year, he paid $7.6 million for a brand-new modern mansion in Encino, and last month he doubled down in the San Fernando Valley, picking up a large house in Studio City. The latest acquisition ran him $4.6 million, according to property records.
Completed in 2017 by a local developer, the Cape Cod-style house was sold that same year to pop music songwriter Emanueal “Eman” Kiriakou, who’s previously worked with the likes of Selena Gomez, Celine Dion and Nick Lachey. The .38-acre mini-estate features nearly 6,300 square feet of living space, including the main house and its large basement, plus a wee detached pool house.
For his part, Kiriakou only held onto the property for three years before flipping it to Barris for $4.6 million in an off-market deal — a $400,000 profit before taxes, closing costs and hefty realtor fees.
Sited in a particularly prime and leafy pocket of Studio City, the walled and gated spread offers a front-facing three-car garage, plus additional driveway parking for five more luxury vehicles. Beyond the tree-shaded front lawn, the house features open-plan living with wide-plank hardwood floors, formal living and dining rooms, and a massive great room that encompasses the high-end kitchen, breakfast area and spacious family room. Sets of French doors provide easy access to the backyard, and there’s a convenient refrigerated wine closet for booze hounds.
The upstairs master suite is lavishly appointed, with an extra-large bedroom, sitting area and a fireplace. The master bath offers a built-in soaking tub, plus a shower clad in expensive stone. Elsewhere in the house are a screening room, private office and several guest bedroom suites. As for the basement, it’s got plenty of room to function as an informal lounge, studio or at-home gym.
Out back, the dark-bottomed swimming pool includes an inset spa and Baja shelf for sunbathing, while the adjacent poolhouse has its own kitchenette. The yard itself is landscaped simply, with spacious lawns front and rear. Hedges and mature trees surround the estate, providing a decent measure of privacy.
Barris, who last year split from longtime wife Dr. Rania “Rainbow” Barris, now sports a portfolio of personal residences valued at nearly $20 million. Besides his $4.6 million Studio City property and the aforementioned $7.6 million Encino mansion, property records show Barris continues to maintain a $3 million home elsewhere in Encino, plus a perfectly ordinary — if hardly inexpensive — house in the mostly unheralded L.A. neighborhood of Valley Village.