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.