6 Black Screenwriters Who Have Shifted the Entertainment Industry

January 5th is National Screenwriters Day. This holiday celebrates the unseen dynamos that work diligently to bring us the bodies of work we so enjoy.

A quick Google search will highlight the vast supply of distinguished black screenwriters who have influenced the film and entertainment industry. As there is a surge of up-and-coming Black screenwriters carving their own path, they are standing on the shoulders of the innovators who carved out the territory to tread. They bring underrepresented stories to the fore in a way that is aesthetically pleasing 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 has invoked an alternative approach to seeing black people in thrillers. Direction, production and script Us, No, Candyman and Wendell & Wildehas cultivated a canon of cinema that is representative and electrifying.

Shonda Rhimes

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For quite some time now, Shonda Rhimes has done it all. From dominating the ABC network with a variety of shows to taking her talents to Netflix with the Bridgerton franchise, Rhimes strives to move away from stereotypical portrayals of people while simultaneously empowering viewers through compelling and layered storytelling.

Robert Townsend

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Robert Townsend is a versatile writer who personified the term “creative” before his time. He wrote, produced and directed the film Hollywood Shuffle which made him one of the most respected black figures in entertainment. His work features black people from all walks of life and has become corresponding staples in our community.

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Issa Rae

Issa Rae.  Photo by Jabari Jacobs.
Issa Rae. Photo by Jabari Jacobs.

Issa Rae contributed her visit to the set Moesa in 1996 as the beginning of her passion for writing and the model for the work she has done in her career. Since then, he has reached great heights and developed scripts that have given us some of our favorite characters.

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Gina Prince-Bythewood

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From Love & Basketball to The Female King, 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 inherently special.

Keenan Ivory Wayans

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Starting the comedy dynasty that is the Wayans family, Keenan Ivory Wayans has written for some of the most important films and television shows in Black Hollywood history. In Living Color, I will give you sukkah and White chicks are just some of the legendary works to which he has lent his pen.


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