Nina Simone’s powerful anthem, “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” encapsulates the weight placed on the shoulders of Black creatives and those who came before to stand in their greatness despite a world that fights their very existence every day. It is both a call to arms and a confidence boosting affirmation.
To be a young, gifted and Black artist in television means taking uniquely Black experiences and turning them into living, breathing macrocosms that touch every cornerstone of human and not-so-human existences: from comedies that make us laugh, think and cry, to sci-fi tales that stretch the limits of our imaginations, to dramas that underscore our humanity – flaws and all.
In celebration of Black History Month, TVLine is highlighting Black + Bold creatives who are changing the TV space for the better whether through redefining Blackness onscreen or creating space behind-the-scenes for others to tell their own impactful stories. We honor the impressive and necessary accomplishments of legendary creatives like Shonda Rhimes, who turned ABC into her own personal Shondaland with an ongoing lineup of #TGIT hits, and Tyler Perry, whose self-titled studio continues to churn out soapy and addictive melodramas that unapologetically refuse to center whiteness.
We’re also putting the spotlight on rising creators like Morgan Cooper, whose forthcoming Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot flips the script on the Will Smith classic, and Natasha Rothwell, who’s adding her own spin to a Jane Austen classic.
While we can’t make February longer than it is, we can make the most of the 28 days in the month by featuring Black creators who are calling the shots and improving the television landscape. — Keisha Hatchett and Mekeisha Madden Toby