5 Black Women Who've Secured Major Production DealsJun 15, 2021 10:40AM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho
Black female celebrities are taking their platforms to new heights and scoring major deals with some of the biggest production companies.
Actresses like Regina Hall, Ciara, and Michelle Obama have taken their platforms to new heights by scoring deals with some of the biggest content hubs around, including Netflix, Showtime, Comedy Central, and ABC. Generation Z power players such as Black-ish stars Marsai Martin and Yara Shahidi have also begun to pave the way for future generations of Black women in TV and film. Here are five Black women who have secured full-figured, multi-million dollar production deals.
The Insecure creator and actress signed a multiyear deal with WarnerMedia, the parent of HBO. The five-year overall deal brings her Hoorae media label into the spotlight and gives HBO, HBO Max, and Warner Bros. television exclusive rights to Rae’s work in TV. “It’s really exciting to have that flexibility and just deepen the relationship that we already have,” Rae tells Variety as part of the magazine’s March cover feature. “Hoorae already had at least 15 projects in various stages of development with them, so we’d been working with them on the drama side, the unscripted side, and the documentaries side for a couple of years now.”
Black-ish star Marsai Martin signed a first-look deal with Universal Studios for her Genius Productions company. The first Genius Productions film under the deal is the comedy StepMonster, in which Martin will star as a teenager adjusting to life with a new stepmother. “She is not only tremendously talented in front of the camera, but offers a unique perspective as a creator and producer that will resonate with all audiences,” said Universal President, Peter Cramer.
Actress Regina King, who recently made her directorial debut for One Night in Miami, signed a first-look deal with Netflix back in 2019 through her Royal Ties production company. The multi-year deal will see King’s banner, Royal Ties, produce both films and series for the streaming platform. “I am beyond thrilled to join the Netflix family. They are at the top of their game and as an artist I am so excited to come play in this wonderful sandbox they have created for storytellers,” King said in a statement. She has also directed her fair share of TV including episodes of This is Us and The Good Doctor.
Academy Award winner Viola Davis and her husband Julius Tennon have agreed to a first-look film content deal between their production company, JuVee Productions, and Amazon Studios. This move is one of several Amazon has made to enhance the content for its streaming service. "We share the same vision of creating a vast and rich array of narratives that are inclusive and reflective of our world," said Davis and Tennon in a statement. Working with Amazon is only the latest big feather JuVee Productions has added to its cap. In August 2020, the company announced it's developing Kiana Davenport's The Shark Dialogues into ABC family’s drama called Ohana.
The Grammy award-winning singer and actress, Mary J. Blige signed an exclusive first-look television deal with Lionsgate through her production house, Blue Butterfly Productions. This will allow her to create content across Lionsgate’s various business platforms. Lionsgate TV Group Chairman, Kevin Beggs, said Blige is a very talented artist and they’re delighted to be working with someone with such a powerful and impactful creative voice. “I couldn’t be more excited to be working with Lionsgate. They are incredible collaborators and have been natural partners from when we first started talking. I can’t wait to bring all of our projects to life,” said Blige in a statement.
Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies.
She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content.
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