6 Black Screenwriters Who Have Shifted the Entertainment Industry

January 5th is National Screenwriters Day. This holiday celebrates the unsung dynamos who work hard to bring us the work we enjoy so much.

A quick Google search will highlight a vast array of notable black screenwriters who have influenced the film and entertainment industries. With the rise of black screenwriters forging their own path, they are standing on the shoulders of innovators who have charted the territory they can tread. They bring underrepresented stories to the fore in a way that is aesthetic and unique to watch.

Below are eight talented screenwriters who have positively reformed and reshaped Hollywood.

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Jordan Peele

Image: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

Jordan Peele referred to an alternative approach to seeing black people in thriller films. Direction, production and script us, not, Candyman a Wendell and Wildehe cultivated a canon of film that is representative and energetic.

Shonda Rhimes

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Shonda Rhimes has been doing it all for a while now. From dominating the ABC network with variety shows to bringing her talents to Netflix with Bridgerton franchise, Rhimes strives to move away from stereotypical portrayals of people while supporting viewers through exciting and layered storytelling.

Robert Townsend

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Robert Townsend is a versatile writer who personified the term “creative” ahead of his time. He wrote, produced and directed the film Hollywood Shuffle which catapulted him to become one of the most respected black characters in entertainment. His work represents black people from all walks of life and has become a staple of our community.

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Issa Rae

Issa Rae.  Photo credit: Jabari Jacobs.
Issa Rae. Photo credit: Jabari Jacobs.

Issa Rae contributed her visit to the ensemble Moesha in 1996 as the beginning of her passion for writing and the model for the work she has done throughout her career. Since then, she has soared to great heights, developing scripts that have given us some of our favorite characters.

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Gina Prince-Bythewood

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From Love and basketball to The King’s wife, Gina Prince-Bythewood knows how to bring beautiful drama to the screen. She focuses on the experiences of various black women, which makes her work truly special.

Keenan Ivory Wayans

Image: LISA O’CONNOR/AFP/Getty Images

Keenan Ivory Wayans, who started the comedy dynasty that is the Wayans family, has written for some of the most significant films and television shows in Black Hollywood history. In vivid color, I’ll give you Sucka a White chickens are just some of the legendary projects to which he lent his pen.


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