It’s one thing to be an actress and represent us on screen, but when you have creative control behind the scenes, that’s when real change happens.
Black women 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. Even Generation Z power players such as Black-ish stars Marsai Martin and Yara Shahidi have begun to follow in the footsteps of actresses before them to pave the way for future generations to see themselves in more positive stories in TV and film.
While deals are just the first step in expanding the pot of who gets to tell what stories, knowing these agreements have been cemented raises our excitement for all of the diverse projects expected to come down the line. Check out the list below for all of the dope queens securing the production bag with full-figured multi-million-dollar deals, first-look agreements and more.
The Emmy-award-winning screenwriter and actress inked a multi-project deal with Audible, Amazon’s premium audio storytelling service, to create original podcasts sharing Black stories and perspectives via her company Hillman Grad Productions.
The Insecure actress landed an eight-figure film and television deal with WarnerMedia. The five-year overall deal brings her Hoorae media label into the room and gives HBO, HBO Max and Warner Bros. television exclusive rights to Rae’s work in TV.
Alongside her mother Keri Shahidi, the Grown-ish actress launched 7th Sun Productions and inked a deal with ABC Studios to develop and produce television projects for cable, streaming and broadcast.
The Little creator and Black-ish star signed a first-look deal with Universal Studios for her Genius Productions company.
Back in 2019, The Chi creator announced her deal with Amazon to create and produce original series for Amazon Studios under her production company Hillman Grad.
The Pose director, producer and writer spread her wings beyond the Fx Network in 2019 when she became the first out transgender woman to land an overall deal at a major content company (Netflix).
Ciara and her husband Russell Wilson signed a first-look deal with Amazon Studios to produce and develop scripted series and films via their Who Not You Productions company.
King, who recently made her directorial debut with One Night in Miami…, signed a first-look deal with Netflix back in 2019 through her Royal Ties production company.
In 2017, the Grey’s Anatomy creator shocked the world when she announced that she was moving from ABC to Netflix. The showrunner’s multiyear deal with Netflix will see her creating original content for the streaming service.
Davis and her husband Julius Tennon signed a first-look deal through their production company JuVee Productions with Amazon Studios in 2018.
Our forever First Lady and former President Barack Obama signed a storytelling deal with Netflix back in 2018.
Mary J. Blige
The Grammy award-winning singer and ‘Power’actresses landed a first-look deal with Lionsgate to develop and produce TV shows through her production house Blue Butterfly Productions in 2019.
Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Saks Fifth Avenue
The Scandal and American Son actress signed an ABC development deal through her production company Simpson
Street in 2016.
Oliver served as an executive story editor and writer for Survivor’s Remorse. She also produced an episode of Insecure predecessor Awkward Black Girl earlier in her career. This fall we’ll see her series Harlem come to Amazon Prime.
Taraji P. Henson
As part of her first-look deal with Fox, Empire star Taraji P. Henson is currently developing a spinoff of the hit show for the network.
In 2020, the Black Lives Matter co-founder signed an overall production deal with Warner Bros., where she intends to continue to uplift Black stories, talent and creators that will continue to transform the world of art and culture.
In October 2020, Regina Hall scored a first-look deal with Showtime via her production company, Rh Negative. She also inked a six-film deal with MTV Entertainment Group.
In April, the Insecure actress signed a multi-year overall deal with ABC Signature via her Big Hattie Productions company.
Insecure actress and Smart, Funny & Black comedian Amanda Seales is developing the scripted series ‘Amanda Seales Is Difficult’ with Bunim/Murray Productions. According to Deadline, this deal marks Bunim/Murray’s first “residency” deal, which will see her production company Smart, Funny & Black housed at the studio.
The ‘Power’ creator signed a high eight-figure overall deal with Netflix. According to Deadline, Kemp will “create new series and develop other projects for a global audience through her End of Episode banner.”
Photo by Arturo Holmes/WireImage