‘Kings of Napa’ creator Janine Sherman Barrois and actor Isiah Whitlock Jr. talk showcasing Black joy

Both Barrois and Whitlock Jr. share how audiences can connect to the King family

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TheGrio recently sat down with the creator and executive producer of OWN’s latest hit series, The Kings of Napa. Janine Sherman Barrois and actor Isiah Whitlock Jr. broke down the new series, how it showcases Black joy and more.

The Kings of Napa, OWN’s latest family drama, dives deep into the aspirational world of the King family in Napa Valley, California, theGrio previously reported. The Kings are, “an African American family whose wealth and status lands them on the pages of design magazines and society pages.”

The show truly takes off when power in the family is suddenly up for grabs and the siblings “uncover deceptions that threaten to tear them and their kingdom apart.”

Kings of Napa thegrio.com
“The Kings of Napa” — Photo Credit: Christos Kalohoridis / 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

In creating a rich family drama, it is important to have characters that audiences can relate to and see themselves in and The Kings of Napa has just that.

Speaking to the characters, Barrois told theGrio, “I think the family dynamics are universal, so I think when they get to meet all the characters, when they see everyone from August, to Dana, and they see Aunt Yvette, Vanessa and Reginald King, they will see people that they know.”

She added, “They’ll see people that they know, people that they’ve met at their family reunion and that they grew up with…but this just happens to be that the backdrop is a vineyard.”

Whitlock Jr., who plays the patriarch Reginald King, gushed about how the show simply portrays a “beautiful family.”

“There’s a lot of conflict and things like that but at the end of the day there is a certain amount of love and respect that they have for one another,” he explained. “I’m excited for people to see that, sometimes I think we don’t see enough of that.”

 Janine Sherman Barrois thegrio.com
Janine Sherman Barrois attends the 4th Annual Celebration of Black Cinema and Television presented by The Critics Choice Association at Fairmont Century Plaza on December 06, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images,)

Barrois then added, “Off of what Isaiah was saying, I think it is a celebration of Black joy and I think that is so important to see right now. So many times our shows are about trauma, but I think this is about joy and it kind of manifests itself.”

Whitlock Jr. then explained that when approaching the series, that was an aspect he continually had to remind himself to focus on. “This is about joy, this is about living, this is about just enjoying life,” he shared. “Usually I play characters where there is always some quirk, some problem or something like that, and I’ve never gotten a chance to play a character where I’m just enjoying life…really calm and centered, just enjoying life.”

The Kings of Napa airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on OWN.

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