Over the past several years, we've seen an increase in women and POC behind-the-scenes in the television industry, but unfortunately, progress has still been slow. So let's take a moment to showcase the Black creatives doing the work to bring you those TV shows you've probably spent a lot of time bingeing to get through quarantine these last few months.
Here are the eight Black TV creatives you really should know.
DeMane Davis is a powerhouse of a director — chances are you've seen her work. She's directed episodes of Queen Sugar, How to Get Away With Murder, The Red Line, and FANGRRLS' deep, dark favorite You. Davis has long been in the industry, getting her start writing and directing the movies Black, White, and Red All Over and Lift. She is a vocal advocate for Black women both in front of and behind the camera, and her work continually speaks to representing those who so frequently don't get the focus. We can't wait to see more from this heavy-hitter.
We at FANGRRLS are huge fans of TV writer/producer, director, and even comic writer LaToya Morgan. Whether it's kicking ass as a writer (and co-executive producer) on Into the Badlands, writing an episode of The Walking Dead, working on a Robyn Hood comic, starting #WGAStaffingBoost, or even giving us a must-watch movie list, Morgan always seems to be busy. And ever since she inked an overall deal with AMC, we can expect to continue to see more of her work all over our televisions.
Marquita Robinson’s IMDb page is full of FANGRRLS favorites (I mean, New Girl, anyone?) — she's written and produced on shows like Black-ish, You're the Worst and the wonderful world of female wrestling in Netflix's GLOW. Robinson has proven herself as a very funny, sharp writer and up next on her plate is writing the Clueless remake (coming from Girls’'Trip producer Tracy Oliver). Put it in our eyeballs right now, please.
You know we have much, much love for DC's Legends of Tomorrow here at FANGRRLS. It's got everything! (No seriously, everything.) So of course we're going to include Ubah Mohamed on this list! Mohamed is responsible for some of the most fun episodes of Legends, like the one where Helen of Troy almost starts a war in '30s Hollywood or that time the Legends were looking for Blackbeard's treasure during… the Revolutionary War. Give us a Ubah Mohamed-penned Legends of Tomorrow movie, CW!
You may not know the name Bola Ogun yet, but you should. Ogun recently made her directorial debut with an episode of Ava DuVernay's Queen Sugar and has since gone on to direct episodes of Legacies, Siren, and Lucifer. Ogun was selected to participate in the AFI Directing Workshop for Women in 2014 and also the Warner Brothers Directors' Workshop. She's just getting started and we can't wait to see what she does next.
Aïda Mashaka Croal
If you're a fan of Marvel's Luke Cage or Jessica Jones shows on Netflix, then you should know Aïda Mashaka Croal. Croal wrote four episodes of Luke Cage and two of Jessica Jones. Not only did she write for the shows, but she also served in producer roles for both. Recently, Croal was set as a co-showrunner for the upcoming Y: The Last Man adaptation from FX but has since left the project. Hopefully, we'll be seeing much more of Croal's work on our screens soon.
Do you have a much-beloved genre TV show? Chances are Monica Owusu-Breen has had a hand in it. Serving as a writer and producer for shows like Fringe, Lost, Charmed, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Alias, as well as showrunner for the first season of Midnight, Texas, Owusu-Breen has a long history of putting the super in supernatural, superhero, and super spy. In 2018, she was tapped to helm the much-anticipated Buffy reboot, but whatever she does next, we're on board.
Mara Brock Akil
Mara Brock Akil is a self-described "off-Broadway sensation." There aren't a lot of lights or big marquees around my name or my work, yet my core audience knows exactly where I am," she told Fader in 2016. Since the mid-'90s, Brock Akil’s career has been filled with Black female excellence and the power of female friendship, creating the seminal UPN comedy Girlfriends, and BET series The Game and Being Mary Jane. Her marquee got a new addition thanks to Black Lightning which she executive produces and developed with her husband, Salim Akil, leading to a premium blind script deal with Fox Entertainment. Marquee and lights or no, her star shines bright.