Third Annual Black Boy Writes/Black Girl Writes Mentorship Initiative Set

The 2023 class of mentees for the Black Boy Writes & Black Girl Writes Mentorship Initiative was announced today. The mentees are presented by writer Mike Gauyo (Insecure, Ginny & Georgia), in partnership with Stage 32, and with support from Culture Creative Entertainment, M88, and Final Draft.

The partnership with Stage 32 consisted of a global search for emerging Black writers, which resulted in a record number of applications from over a dozen countries. The outcome is a mentee class of 12 writers.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the latest group of mentees, who I’m sure will go on to do amazing things in and out of the program,” said Black Boy Write Media founder, Mike Gauyo. “I launched this initiative to create a space for Black writers to have access towards a career in writing, not just in hopes of combatting the lack of diversity in Hollywood, but to give these writers a chance at achieving dreams that, otherwise, may have felt out of their reach,”

Related Story

'Insecure' And 'Ginny And Georgia' Writer Mike Gauyo Signs With M88

Gauyo, his agency, and management firm Culture Creative Entertainment and M88, respectively, have agreed to read the mentees at the end of the program year.”

The yearlong initiative provides pre-WGA Black writers with a pathway to becoming established screenwriters in entertainment. The Mentorship Initiative, which is comanaged by Ashley Aronson, it’s chief of programming, addresses an ever-pressing need for the entertainment industry to improve the narratives around people of color, supported by many diversity reports that have emerged in the last few years, including the NAACP ‘The Black Executive’ Report which concluded that the “absence of Black control of media” is “harming the African American community.”

The 2023 class of mentees will partake in a comprehensive program that includes monthly Writer Roundtables with established writers/industry leaders. Participants have included Morgan Cooper (creator of Bel Air), Sara Finney Johnson (cocreator of Moesha & The Parkers), Golden Globe winning writer/director Kemp Powers (Soul, One Night in Miami), and Oscar winning director Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse). 

The 2023 class:

  • Aaliyah Roberts – Aaliyah is a Black/Mexican comedy writer who grew up in a low-income, multi-generational Mexican household of seven relatives in Riverside, also known as Los Angeles’ ugly cousin. Though her childhood was sometimes traumatic, she always tried to deal with her pain by using comedy to make those around her laugh. Now she aims to profit off her trauma by laughing all the way to the bank (this was written before the potential writers’ strike). A current USC MFA Candidate in Writing for Screen and Television, Aaliyah writes about the weight of family and deeply flawed characters who are fiercely passionate and a little delusional.
  • Abbesi Akhamie – Abbesi Akhamie is a Nigerian-American writer-director and producer, known for her powerful and thought-provoking films exploring the complexities of African and diaspora experiences. Her recent short film, The Couple Next Door, premiered at Aspen ShortsFest to critical acclaim and is now available on the Criterion Collection. Supported by esteemed organizations such as TIFF, Chanel, and the Princess Grace Foundation, Abbesi is a passionate and visionary artist, cementing her position as one of the most exciting up-and-coming new voices in film.
  • Daphne Gabriel – Daphne Gabriel started her career as a child actor; one of her first gigs was as a stand-in in Dr. Doolittle, which sparked her love for the film and television industry. Her upcoming short film, COSMOS, was selected at the Santa Barbara International Screenplay Awards. She holds a B.A. from California State University, Los Angeles, and an M.A. from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
  • Jonathan Higgins (DoctorJonPaul) – Jonathan Higgins (also known as DoctorJonPaul) is an educator and writer who is passionate about making television more diverse and inclusive for Black, queer, and non-binary people. Their work has placed as a semi-finalist in several writing competitions including ScreenCraft’s Sci-fi Screenplay Contest, Outfest’s Screenwriters Lab, and, more recently, SeriesFest Wondaland Storytellers Initiative. Their work has also placed and won at both the Crown and Cineplay International Film Festival.
  • Jules Crosby – Jules Crosby is a queer Black comedy television writer, actor, and journalist from “a little bit of everywhere,” observing life from all over the country as a military brat (angel). A recent graduate from the University of Miami, he hopes his degree in screenwriting justifies an obsession with television and film. Crosby previously interned with the Television Academy Foundation and Kripke Enterprises, serving as a comedy writing intern for the Amazon Prime series The Boys
  • K.D. Christopher – Growing up playing video games and renting adrenaline-driven movies from Blockbuster, K.D. Christopher lives for writing diverse characters in sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and video game-based stories. She infuses cultural experiences in her genre-bending, high-concept narratives, aiming to make viewers from around the world feel represented. Not only did she earn the TV Academy Foundation Fellowship, as well as internships with HBOMax and Monkeypaw Productions, K.D. became the first woman to win 1st Place at the Maryland Film Industry Coalition Student Film Awards for her award-winning horror short, unKnown.
  • Shonnon Marshall – Shonnon is a multi-hyphenate artist from New York City, working as an actor, writer, and filmmaker. Growing up gay as a first-generation American to Jamaican and Cuban parents, Shonnon brings a unique perspective to his work, with a particular focus in showcasing Black, Afro Latino, and queer characters in nuanced leading roles. As a graduate of the State University of New York, Purchase’s Screenwriting program, Shonnon hopes to one day act in a TV series that he writes.
  • Simone Williams – Simone Williams is a self-taught Screenwriter and Director of Photography based in Los Angeles. She is a member of IATSE Local 600, alumna of the WarnerMedia Access program, and DP’d her first short film, Perspective, in 2022. In both of her mediums, Simone finds herself drawn to stories of mischievous, misbehaving, raw and unruly, “bad” women. She continues to explore what the lives of these women reveal about the respectability politics surrounding womanhood and how humans attempt to navigate the unnatural expectations of society.
  • Tanisha Quilter-Williams – Tanisha Quilter-Williams is a military brat and former entertainment reporter who enjoys writing dramedies about the female experience and their quest for self-discovery. In 2021, she created an audio drama podcast, Forties AF, about three friends picking up the pieces their thirties left behind and just dropped her first book, Got Scoop, for aspiring journalists that need tips on navigating their way into the journalism world.
  • Terrence Thompson – Terrence Thompson is a 30-year-old dramedy writer and educator who is still trying to convince his family that dropping out of college (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) was the best decision for his mental health. Hailing from the most infamously misunderstood geographical region in America, the South Side of Chicago, his work largely speaks to that disconnect, while muddling through the “functionally dysfunctional” dynamics of family, friendships, Black masculinity, mental health, drug culture, activism, and metaphysics. His pilot, Street Lights, was endorsed by the Black List and has acquired finalist placings in competitions coordinated by Stage 32, WeScreenplay, and The Script Lab.
  • Wes Brown – Wes Brown is a multi-hyphenate writer, director, and actor born in Atlanta, Georgia, and is of biracial descent. He began writing at a young age and took interest in all aspects of performing arts, eventually graduating from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in 2014. There, he took part in the pilot Comedy @ SCA program, with his work premiering on the front page of Funny or Die. Since then, Wes has written, directed, and acted in award-winning shorts, created promotional content for companies like Maserati and McLaren, as well as taken part in a writer’s roundtable for Columbia Pictures. Wes is a comedy and dramedy writer with additional samples in other genres, such as westerns, horror, and sci-fi.
  • Willie Macc – Willie Macc has become one of the few reality TV stars (BET’s College Hill: Virgin Island) to make it as a working actor and comedian in Hollywood. Willie Macc, inspired by Bernie Mac, tours the world as a stand-up comedian, basing his material on his children – Malcolm (20) and Makaila (17, who passed away March 5th, 2023, from an autoimmune disease), as well as his experience as a young father navigating life. Willie Macc can be seen frequently at the Laugh Factory, Ice House, and Comedy Store in Los Angeles, alongside pursuing his dream of writing for television and one day creating his own tv shows.

Must Read Stories

‘Pearl’ & ‘X’ Star Mia Goth Joins Mahershala Ali In Marvel’s ‘Blade’ Redo

Strike Authorization Vote Underway; Guild Says “Survival Of Writing Is At Stake”

Ben Stiller To Direct MRC’s ‘This, But Again’ Based On David Iserson Short Story

Judge To Appoint Special Master To Probe Fox Attorneys In Dominion Case

Read More About:

Source: Read Full Article