Revenge of the Black Best Friend by Amanda Parris makes its debut


Amanda Parris

REVENGE OF THE BLACK BEST FRIEND, a brand new CBC Gem original comedy series from award-winning playwright, host, producer, and CBC personality Amanda Parris, puts a spotlight – and surreal twist – on the familiar tropes, stereotypes and typecasting that’s been forced on Black actors.

The entire six-part series debuts on the free CBC Gem streaming service on Thursday, March 31.

It will also have its international premiere as an official selection in the Short Form competition at the prestigious Cannes International Series Festival (Canneseries) April 1-6 2022.

From dismissed divas to sidelined superheroes, the series follows Dr. Toni Shakur (played by The Porter’s Oluniké Adeliyi), a self-help guru whose mission is to cancel the entertainment industry’s reliance on token Black characters…that is before she gets cancelled herself.

“Revenge of the Black Best Friend came out of my childhood desire to see more stories on screen led by characters who look like me and is a revenge fantasy in response to what I got instead: one-note, underdeveloped Black characters that I struggled to connect with. Revenge of the Black Best Friend is my way of questioning the larger implication and lasting impact of these images. However, it is also about my ongoing curiosity about the challenge of activism today and what happens when social justice issues become someone’s brand,” says Amanda Parris, showrunner and series creator.

Series Synopsis:

Oluniké Adeliyi

In Season 1 of Revenge of the Black Best Friend, we meet the self-help guru, Dr. Toni Shakur, and see her work to support Black actors who have been cast as token Black characters. The first five episodes of the show are intentionally and unapologetically named for typical tropes. In Episode 1, “The Sassy Black Best Friend”, we first meet Dr. Shakur as a woman on a mission. She is a bestselling author, award-winning talk show host, guru, mentor and mythic superhero, who is advertising her latest book, Backstory for the Black One in the Background: A Guide for White Screenwriters. While the boldfaced sales pitch for the book is a glimpse into trouble to come for Dr. Shakur, the episode is also characterized by a classic, series-wide “Shakur intervention”, which enables traditionally sidelined supporting characters a revenge fantasy that allows them to step into centre stage.

This series is a hilarious, sharp and truth-filled look at how Black actors continue to navigate years old challenges across the film and tv industry, while also questioning the activism that calls these issues out.


About the Production Team:

Amanda Parris (Creator, Showrunner, Executive Producer, Writer) is an award-winning writer, producer and tv/radio host. Her play Other Side of the Game was awarded the Governor General Literary Award for Drama. She is also the creator and host of Marvin’s Room on CBC Music. In 2020, Amanda launched Black Light, an award-winning column for CBC Arts, that showcases, explores and critically engages art and popular culture created by Black people.

Motion (Co-Executive Producer, Writer) is a beloved Toronto creative who has worn the hats of playwright, screenwriter, poet, and emcee, fusing word, sound & drama for the stage and screen. A Canadian Film Centre alumnus, she is currently a writer and executive story editor on CBC’s hit drama series, Coroner (Back Alley/Muse).

Julian De Zotti (Executive Producer) is the lead producer on Revenge of The Black Best Friend, and stars as “Skip Shepard” in Episode 1 and 3. He wrote, created and starred in the six-episode CBC Gem dramedy series For The Record, which was just nominated for eight Canadian Screen Awards including Best Web Program or Series and Best Lead Performance.

Revenge of the Black Best Friend is directed by Thyrone Tommy, Ian Keteku and Jerome Kruin. It stars Oluniké Adeliyi, Cara Ricketts, Araya Mengesha, Dwain Murphy, Ashton James, Julian De Zotti and Jenny Young with special appearances from Andrea Lewis, Tyrone Edwards and Mark Strong.