With the #MeToo, #OscarsSoWhite and #TimesUp movements making headway in recent years, Black women in Hollywood have become even more intentional about creating their own opportunities without being beholden to the white male powers that be. We know that Black women are no strangers to taking care of business in all aspects of their lives—we’re highlighting these five actresses who stepped behind the camera and launched their own successful production companies making phenomenal TV and film projects.
Taraji P. Henson – TPH Entertainment
It was recently announced the famed Empire actress inked a deal with BET Studios to produce original content across various verticals. In Fall 2020, Henson launched TPH Entertainment alongside production partner Christine Conley with leading projects like “TWO-FACED” with Bron Entertainment, in which Henson will make her film directorial debut. “SORCERORITY” is also on the roster, which will be co-produced with Game Changer Films and Gabrielle Union’s I’ll Have Another Productions. “BET has always been the foundation of my fanbase and a huge supporter of me throughout my career,” Henson said in a news release. “BET Studios understands and perfectly aligns with my vision of why I founded TPH Entertainment, to increase opportunities and create content that will challenge audiences and inspire new perspectives. I am so excited to join them and for the incredible content we will create together. This partnership will be for the culture.”
Gabrielle Union – I’ll Have Another Productions
Union’s I’ll Have Another Productions entered into a two-year deal with Sony Pictures in 2018 and later partnered with Amazon to produce original content including an upcoming queer coming-of-age movie directed by Billy Porter as reported by Yahoo. The company has also developed books such as Tamara Winfrey-Harris’ The Sisters Are Alright which topples stereotypes about Black women and George M. Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue, a memoir about the writer’s experiences navigating life as a queer Black man.
Tiffany Haddish – She Ready Productions
It was 2017 when the comedic actress smashed her breakout role in Girls Trip and she hasn’t looked back since. After landing countless guest appearances and starring roles, she produced and developed a hit Netflix comedy special, They Ready featuring diverse women comedians from all over the country. She also has a first-look deal with HBO for projects under her production company banner.
Halle Berry – 606 Films
For decades, it’s seemed like the Oscar-winning actress has always been on our screens, but little did we know, she’s been making things happen behind the scenes as well. Variety reported that Berry recently hired WME motion picture department partner Holly Jeter to serve as president, which is a true power as Jeter has helped make some of the successful film productions happen. This comes not too long after it was announced that Berry had signed a two-picture, three-year first look deal with Netflix in the wake of the streamer releasing her directorial debut, “Bruised,” which was an instant hit.
Kerry Washington – Simpson Street
We associate Washington with her famed Scandal character that always “handled it.” It’s no different in real life. It was recently announced that Washington is expanding her long standing relationship with ABC via a renewal of an overall production deal at the Disney Television Studios unit. According to the Hollywood Reporter in January, the agreement will run for three years. Simpson Street will develop TV projects across various verticals including streaming, namely a drama at Hulu based on Lillian Li’s novel Number One Chinese Restaurant. The deal renewal is followed by Washington’s four Emmy nominations for her lead role in Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere and as an executive producer of outstanding limited series nominee, Netflix’s American Son (nominated for outstanding TV movie) and ABC’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience (up for outstanding variety special).