NAACP AWARD CELEBRATIONS

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March and April proved to be unexpectedly busy months.

While directing an episode of Greenleaf, I worked on my TEDxAtlanta talk and prepped to go to LA for the NAACP Awards where I was nominated for Outstanding Director (Drama) for directing episode 10/season 4 of Queen Sugar.

It was wonderful seeing so many Black film and television artists being celebrated.  During the events, I reflected on my husband Tim’s uncle Robert Goodwin.

Goodwin (1927–1983) was a pioneering and prolific screenwriter, who was the first African American man to sell scripts and write for network television. He had over 100 hours of work aired starting with Bonanza (1965), followed by other top shows like All In the Family and an Emmy nomination. The Black characters he created in the lilywhite TV universe gave many Black actors their earliest breaks in television, including Cicely Tyson, Flip Wilson, Isabel Sanford, Mike Warren, Roscoe Lee Brown, Bernie Casey, George Sanford Brown, Barbara O, Robert Hooks, Lou Rawls, and many others.  At the time of Bob’s work there were less than 1% African American writers working in Hollywood.  

The stats for Black writers in television today aren’t great – just at 4.8% in 2017.  We’ve still got a long way to go which is one reason why I loved the NAACP gathering of Black film and television artists who are working in an industry where barriers still remain –but we a still moving forward and gathering allies every day.

Here are a few photos from the two-day celebration.

Recent TEDxAtlanta event

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It was a good day. 

Sold out TEDxAtlanta event. Over 80O people in attendance. 

I can finally announce that I spoke about speculative fiction, in particular science fiction and fantasy, and how as imaginative as this art form is, that our imaginations are limited.  

While we can imagine a woman who is the mother of dragons and we can  imagine children attending schools where they learn to cast magical spells, it is rare that we can imagine people of color as heroes in these kinds of stories or as characters who have agency. Rarely can we imagine women of color as heroes in these stories. 

Ultimately, it’s a talk about the Other and the Different in all of its forms, as well as not seeing this in speculative fiction which is our most imaginative art form. And, as a result we are not only censoring our imaginations but losing out on understanding at a deeper level of what it means to be human. 

Off to bed. Between prepping for this talk and Greenleaf, I am spent but grateful.