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10 Black Power House Female Directors Shaking it Up.



Director Millicent B. Shelton attends the 42nd NAACP Image Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on March 4, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dr. Billy Ingram/WireImage)


Millicent B. Shelton

You may not know Millicent Shelton’s name but you most definitely know her work. The St. Louis native’s directing credits include some of our favorite TV shows, from “Girlfriends” to “Everybody Hates Chris” and “The Bernie Mac Show.” Plus she directed the 1998 motion picture “Ride.”



CASTLE – “Tone Death” – When a body is found in the theater of Martha’s latest show, Castle and Beckett’s investigation leads them into the unexpectedly dangerous world of competitive a capella. “High School Musical”‘s Corbin Bleu guest stars. “Tone Death” will air on MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images) HANELLE M. CULPEPPER (DIRECTOR)


Hanelle M. Culpepper
Like Shelton, Hanelle M. Culpepper is another Black woman behind the scenes who’s directed episodes of some of the biggest network TV shows of all time, including “90210,” “Parenthood,” “Empire,” “Criminal Minds,” and “Revenge.”

Codie Elaine Oliver


Did you love “Black Love” as much as we did? Thank Codie Elaine Oliver whose direction of the series which debuted on OWN this past year has landed her an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Directing in a Television Movie or Special. We can’t wait to hear the stories of the couples on the next season.


LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 05: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been digitally retouched) Director Amma Asante is photographed during the 60th BFI London Film Festival at The Mayfair Hotel on October 5, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)


Amma Asante

British screenwriter and director Amma Asante is best known for her work on 2013’s “Belle,” the period drama telling the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, and the movie was only Asante’s second film. Nevertheless it garnered a slew of awards and nominations, including one for Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture at the NAACP Image Awards.



WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – NOVEMBER 07: Director Ava DuVernay attends a taping of “Queen Sugar After-Show” at OWN on November 7, 2017 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)


Ava DuVernay

During the past five years, Ava DuVernay’s list of firsts has grown quite long. At the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, she became the first Black woman to win the Best Director Prize for her second feature film “Middle of Nowhere.” In 2014, her direction of “Selma” led her to became the first Black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award and the first Black female director to have her film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. And this year she became the first Black woman to direct a live-action film with a budget of more than $100 million with “A Wrinkle in Time.” And then there’s “Queen Sugar” which basically speaks for itself.



CHAMPAIGN, IL – APRIL 15: Kasi Lemmons poses for a portrait at the 2016 Ebertfest on April 15, 2016 in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images for Ebertfest)


Kasi Lemmons

When someone labels you “an ongoing testament to the creative possibilities of film,” you know your work is good. That’s how film scholar Wheeler Winston Dixon described Kasi Lemmons whose directorial work can be seen in films such as “Eve’s Bayou,” “Talk To Me,” and “Black Nativity.”



Julie Dash


Writer, producer, and director Julie Dash’s 1991 independent film “Daughters of the Dust”became the first full-length movie directed by an African American woman to obtain general theatrical release in the United States. The work solidified Dash’s name in the film cannon and she has continued to do great work directing in music, film, and television including the “The Rosa Parks Story” and “Queen Sugar.”


Gina Prince-Bythewood, creator of the new FOX series “Shots Fired” talks during a Q&A, after the screening of her show, as part of the National Assciation of Black Journalists (NABJ), and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) joint conference, in Washington, on August 5, 2016. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


Gina Prince-Bythewood

Gina Prince-Bythewood is the directorial force behind some of our favorite movies from the 2000s, including “Dissapearing Acts,” “Love & Basketball,” “The Secret Life of Bees,” and “Beyond the Lights.” The 48-year-old is currently adapting Roxane Gay’s novel, “An Untamed State,” into a feature film. And this past year, she and her husband, film director and writer Reggie Rock Bythewood, created the 10-part Fox drama series “Shots Fired.”

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