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Sundance and Women Write Now Are Giving Black Women Writers a Vital Storytelling Platform

Danielle Solomon, Logan Browning, Tika Sumpter, Kiana Butler, Mayanna Berrin, Nicole Byer, Candice Wilson Cherry, and Thai Randolph “This fellowship has been such a blessing in my life — being able to work with Black women to tell my authentically,” says Danielle Solomon, writer of Hey Boo. From Issa Rae's groundbreaking work to Quinta Brunson's history-making television debut, we've seen the power and impact of giving platforms to Black women storytellers. Still, a Black woman has never won an Academy Award for screenwriting or directing. Additionally, only two Black women have been nominated for screenwriting (Dee Rees in 2018 for Mudbound and Suzanne de Passe in 1972 for Lady Sings the Blues), and zero have been nominated for directing. As we've seen over the last several years, this lack of acknowledgment and opportunity for Black women filmmakers is detrimental to us all — creators and viewers. To increase diversity and inclusion, specifically regarding Black women, Hartbeat Media CEO Thai Randolph and head of the film Candice Wilson Cherry partnered with the Sundance Institute to create the Women Write Now fellowship. It's a comedic fellowship designed to champion the next generation of Black women in comedy through mentorship, advocacy, production, and exhibition. Although this was its second year, it's the program's first in Park City, Utah — at this year's Sundance Film Festival, which just concluded earlier this week. The cohort featured three new writers who were then paired with Black […]

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