Black women constantly face racial and gender disparity in the entertainment industry. They have worked to pave their way in entertainment as aspiring future creators, writers, and producers. Without these women, we wouldn’t have notable television shows and films. Here are 11 women behind the screens of your favorite TV shows.
Comedian Quinta Brunson has been a star since her early days starring in Buzzfeed sketches. She now creates, writes, and stars in Abbott Elementary, one of the most critically acclaimed TV shows out right now.
Issa Rae is a trailblazer in the entrainment industry. She went from creating her web series The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl to starring in, writing, and co-creating the comedy-drama series Insecure.
Michaela Coel is the genius behind the thought-provoking series I May Destroy You. Inspired by her own experience of sexual assault, Coel turned her trauma into art. Coel went on to make history as the first Black woman to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special for I May Destroy You at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards.
If you’ve ever watched Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, or How to Get Away with Murder then you probably recognize the name Shonda Rhimes. Shonda Rhimes is a television producer, screenwriter, and author. Rhimes is best known as the creator, writer, and producer of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal. Currently, Rhimes’ production company Shondaland has produced the new Netflix series Bridgerton and Inventing Anna.
Are you looking for a new show to watch with an ensemble cast of Black women? Check out Run the World on Starz. Run the World is the story of a group of Black women – vibrant, fiercely loyal best friends – who work, live, and play in Harlem as they strive for world domination. The series is loosely based on the life of the show creator, Leigh Davenport.
Yvette Lee Bowser
If you’ve ever watched Living Single you have Yvette Denise Lee Bowser to thank. With Living Single, Bowser became the first African-American woman to develop her own prime-time series.
Tracy Oliver is the mastermind behind the smash film Girls Trip (2017). Girls Trip made her the first African-American woman to write a film that grossed over $100 million. Pivoting to TV shows, Oliver recently created and wrote the BET television series, First Wives Club and the Amazon Prime series, Harlem.
Robin Thede is the comedic mind behind the comedy sketch series, A Black Lady Sketch Show. Back in 2015, Thede became the first African-American woman to become a head writer for a late-night talk show on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.
Mara Brock Akil
If you are a fan of the UPN series Girlfriends or its spin-off The Game, you have Mara Brock Akil to thank. Brock-Akil served as the creator of both series and later went on to be the showrunner for BET’s Being Mary Jane.
Looking for a dramatic historical retelling? Check out the 2014 film Selma by Ava DuVernay or the drama miniseries When They See Us on Netflix. DuVernay became the first Black woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director for her work on Selma. Recently, DuVernay created the American drama Queen Sugar on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
Eunetta T. Boone
Eunetta T. Boone was an African-American television writer and producer. Boone was the creator of the 2000s sitcom One on One as well as a writer on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Most recently Boone served as the executive producer and showrunner for the third season of the Disney Channel series Raven’s Home.