Entergalactic’s Kenya Barris Reveals What Kid Cudi Taught Him As Part Of Their Netflix Collaboration
Kenya Barris is arguably best known for creating ABC’s black-ish, which ended after eight seasons earlier this year, and the satirical and somewhat autobiographical comedy #BlackAF. Now, the writer and producer is releasing a different kind of project with Netflix’s Entergalactic. The animated TV special is the brainchild of both Barris and his fellow EP, Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi. The production is a firm combination of both of their creative sensibilities, something that’s sure to be apparent to viewers from the jump. Barris, for his part, relished the opportunity to work with the musician and even learned a thing or two from him as well.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Kenya Barris ahead of Entergalactic’s release, during which we discussed his collaboration with Kid Cudi. The mega producer explained that he and Cudi resolved to work together and the former spoke at the college that Barris’ daughter attends. The two hit it off pretty quickly, as Barris explained, and he went on to say that the rapper taught him two things – one of which is crucial for those looking to craft any kind of art:
The thing that I learned from him is like the idea of sort of like, letting yourself be free. I’m always a big voice fan. I think a voice is the most important thing any creative could have. I don’t care if you’re a journalist, I don’t care if you’re an investment banker. … I’m saying the idea of like, you can hear a voice and like [Kid Cudi] stays true to his voice, you know, and I really, you know, sometimes when I have doubts, or if I was in a moment of doubt, that to me was like trying to tap into what my voice was and trying to show other young creators like to find your voice. So I really learned that from him. I also learned how music, you know what I’m saying, can sort of enhance and build. I’ve always been a huge fan of music in our projects, but with him, working on a musically-driven project, he built worlds. He helped me build worlds [, and] that I was something that I felt like, you know, I really, really, really learned.
Scott Mescudi has definitely proven to be one of the most unique musical voices of his generation. The 38-year-old Grammy winner has delivered infectious beats over the course of his career but has also injected his own personal experiences into his art. As Kenya Barris noted during our chat, Mescudi, hasn’t strayed from discussing topics like mental health and self-love through his music. So needless to say, the Need for Speed alum definitely knows what it means to let yourself be free.
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Worldbuilding is also something that’s been a massive part of both Kenya Barris and Kid Cudi’s work. For the former, one needn’t look any further than his work with black-ish. In the years since that show premiered, Barris crafted two spinoff series, grown-ish and mixed-ish. Meanwhile, Cudi has helped to build a cinematic world through the X horror franchise, which has really struck a chord with moviegoers thus far. And Barris and Cudi’s shared desire to flesh out fictional worlds really does permeate their new collaboration.
Entergalactic centers on Jabari (voiced by Scott Mescudi), a young street artist who’s adjusting to his new job at a comic book company while also contemplating whether he has room for romance. While he’s skeptical of such a notion at first, that all changes when he meets his new neighbor, Meadow (Jessica Williams). Though the special (which was conceived as a TV show) is only around 90 minutes in length, it totes a fully-formed world that’s filled with endearing characters.
Considering how much Kenya Barris and Kid Cudi enjoyed this collaboration, it wouldn’t be surprising if they reunited for another sometime in the future. Their current partnership could be fruitful in a number of ways, though one gets the sense that right now, Barris is particularly content with how this joint effort has helped him grow as a creative.
Entergalactic premieres (opens in new tab) on September 30 as part of the 2022 TV schedule, so be sure you have a Netflix subscription so that you can check it out.