Diarra Kilpatrick Interview: ‘American Koko’
Diarra Kilpatrick is an Emmy nominee in the Best Short Form Actress category for “American Koko,” which is set in “post post-racial America.” In an interview with Gold Derby (watch the exclusive video above), Kilpatrick explains that because Barack Obama was president, “There was this myth going around that we were in post-racial America and then the election happened where we elected Donald Trump as our president and right away, we saw, rising the forefront, people who had had less than post-racial ideas becoming more vocal and so I called this the post post-racial period of America.”
Kilpatrick plays the eponymous character, who is “this detective who has made it her work to solve raced-based issues” on a local level. Kilpatrick notes about her comedic take on weighty subjects, “It’s important to cross the line sometimes when you are a satirist, when you are a cultural commentator, when you’re obviously doing it to make a point, to ask a question, to help an audience figure out where their line is; you want people to have an emotional reaction.”
Having acted on television in bit parts since she made her debut with a one-off role on “House” in 2008, Kilpatrick created, wrote, co-directed, costumed and starred in six nine-minute episodes of “American Koko” for her YouTube channel in 2014 with a $3,000 budget. Acclaim and awards landed her in the writers’ room of the first season of “The Mysteries of Laura;” she later wrote for the first season of “The Last O.G.” and the second season of “I’m Dying Up Here.” “American Koko” also caught the eye of Viola Davis, who executive produced and narrated the reshot first season — now opening with a Margaret Cho cameo — and original second season, both of which ABC released online last year.