If this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, Golden Globe Awards and Academy Awards nominations are any indication, black Hollywood is doing pretty well right now.
Most people are familiar with those in front of the camera like Viola Davis, Denzel Washington and Octavia Spencer, but more goes into creating successful films and TV shows than talented actors.
Though directors, producers and showrunners like Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes and Courtney Kemp Agboh are becoming household names, there are stunt people, writers and costume designers who aren’t as widely known for their contributions. And let’s not forget the content creators like Franchesca Ramsey who keep us laughing with their video blogs.
That is why XFINITY is honoring many of the female faces behind the magic as part of our Black History Month celebration. We will feature interviews throughout February with black women whose own form of bippidy-boppidy-boo help bring your favorite films, TV shows and online content to life.
Take a look at some of these dynamic women below and share their stories via social media using the hashtags #BlackHistoryAlwaysOn and #XfinityBHM.
Gina Prince-Bythewood, who is known for producing and directing films “Love & Basketball,” “The Secret Life of Bees” and “Beyond the Lights,” wrote for the ’90s NBC hit “A Different World” right out of college.
“It was a great training ground because it taught you to speak up for yourself, it taught you to trust yourself, trust your instincts,” Prince-Bythewood said.
Watch her interview below to find out why she puts women in positions of power in her films.
Ruth E. Carter
You may not know Ruth E. Carter by name, but if you’re fans of BET’s “Being Mary Jane,” Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” and “Selma,” you definitely know her style. The twice Oscar-nominated costume designer credits filmmaker Spike Lee with helping to put her on the map.
“He started talking to me about how I can get experience in filmmaking. He said go to USC or UCLA and sign up to do a student thesis project,” said Carter, who was reluctant to leave the theater world for film.
Watch Carter’s interview below to discover more about her journey.
Franchesca Ramsey had the world cracking up five years ago when she jumped on the “S— (fill in the blank) Say” video bandwagon with her own version, “S— White Girls Say…to Black Girls.” The video blew up and Ramsey, an actress, comedian and video blogger, found herself doing interviews with the likes of Anderson Cooper. Fast-forward and Ramsey’s life continues to bring her good fortune as the host of the MTV News web series “Decoded” and as a former writer and contributor for Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.”
“I built my first website in middle school after I went to computer camp and learned how to do HTML,” Ramsey explained.
Find out about her experiences growing up in the digital era when you watch her interview below.
WATCH: Franchesca Ramsey’s Interview
“Star” executive producer Effie Brown may not be as well-known as the show’s creator Lee Daniels, but she will be in time. Aside from her duties on the Fox newbie, Brown served as producer on “Dear White People” and “Rocket.”
“My father was in the Army. My mother is a strong black woman and said I could do anything that I wanted as long as I put my mind to it,” said Brown, who interned on “The Five Heartbeats.”
Brown talks about the women who were instrumental in her career, the importance of giving back and more in her interview below.
WATCH: Effie Brown Interview