'Black-ish' Creator Sued Show Was My Idea Too ... Kenya Barris Cut Me Out

9/9/2016 4:47 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

The hugely successful creator of "Black-ish" forgot someone on his way to the top ... namely the guy who says the show is based on his life.

Kenya Barris is the credited creator of the huge ABC hit, starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, and Bryan Barber says he and Kenya go way back to their college days in 1996.

In a lawsuit Barber just filed -- obtained by TMZ -- he says he and Kenya both became writers and both had agents at William Morris. He says they formed a partnership in 2006, and came up with a script focusing on the "black experience" ... through the eyes of a "successful, creative and affluent black man" working in the mostly white entertainment industry.

That's Anderson's character to a T, except he works at an ad agency.

In the the suit, Barber says the script was based on HIS life experiences, and he and Kenya agreed to exploit it for their benefit. Problem is ... he says they parted ways before 2014, when "Black-ish" debuted. 

Barber says "Black-ish" has tons of similarities to the OG show idea -- such as the lead character driving a luxury car, wearing high-end clothes, and marrying a bi-racial doctor named "Rainbow."

He's suing Barris and the show's production company for at least $1 million. Plus, he wants writer and creator credits which would net him even more dough. We've reached out to Kenya's rep ... no word back.