Black-ish creator Kenya Barris is no stranger to exploring political matters in his work. The outspoken showrunner is teaming with music producer Pharrell Williams to develop a stage musical centering on the holiday of Juneteenth, the African American holiday tradition celebrating the end of slavery. Juneteenth represents the date – June 19, 1865 – that U.S. Army ships mandated that Texas landowners free the last of their slaves, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Fans of Black-ish will remember Barris once wrote about the holiday in an episode of the acclaimed sitcom titled Juneteenth: The Musical.
Barris will write the musical's libretto alongside writer and producer Peter Saji, while Williams will write and compose the music and produce the musical. Regarding the intent of the musical, Barris is emphasizing that the stage musical is less about ratings and more about educating and entertaining the audience. “For us, this project isn’t about numbers; it’s about humanity,” Barris said. “Slavery is America’s recessive gene, and it’s time we all dealt with it, and what better way to have an audience swallow this dose of medicine than with amazing music and raw, honest, jaw-dropping comedy?”
No timeline is known as of yet, and plot details remain limited, only that it will revolve around two black families with one family's story in the present and the other during the Civil War.