Five Black Writers You Should Know
(Plus, local talent you should work with)
While Hollywood & pop criticism lack representation & amplification of Black screenwriters, Black creators have been utilizing the form brilliantly since almost the medium's beginning. A simple list of five is insufficient, so in addition to checking out these five Black screenwriters, we encourage you to explore the work of many more!
Rapper, actor, producer, and screenwriter, Stephen Glover is primarily known for his work as a writer for the television series Atlanta. Despite having no previous experience as a screenwriter, his brother Donald Glover hired him to create an all-Black writing team predominantly hailing from the eponymous city.
Despite this quick start in his screenwriting career, Glover proved himself capable and became the series’ story editor. Later, he wrote the vibrant 2019 film Guava Island, starring Donald Glover and Rihanna as music-obsessed lovers on a fictional Caribbean island.
Though his career as a screenwriter is relatively new, his ability to create intimate yet high-spirited dialogue leaves us on the edge of our seats, waiting for his next project.
As the creator of HBO’s beloved black horror series Lovecraft Country, it seems that Misha Green has quickly become a household name. However, Green’s career as a screenwriter has been a slow but steady ride. Originally from Sacramento, California, Green started as a staff writer for Sons of Anarchy back in 2009, before writing for shows like Heroes, Spartacus, and Helix.
As a creator, her first series Underground tells the abolitionist movement's story just before the American Civil War. The series aired for two seasons and won two AAFCA awards before being canceled in 2017. But Green quickly bounced back with the release of Lovecraft Country in 2020. The wildly popular and critically-acclaimed series has already won an AFI award for the Year's TV Program and currently holds 2021 nominations for the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, and much more. Green's upcoming projects include Tomb Raider 2, The Mother, and Cleopatra Jones, giving us plenty of content to look forward to.
Chicago native, Dewayne Perkins, holds so many titles that you almost feel ridiculous listing them off: screenwriter, actor, producer, comedian, director, cinematographer, and editor. First known for his improv and stand-up comedy, Perkins followed in the footsteps of many great Chicago comedians training at The Second City.
He later gained notoriety by starring in viral videos such as 3Peat’s sketch The Blackening and the web series Starving Artists. In 2018, Perkins began writing for Netflix’s The Break with Michelle Wolf; though, it was canceled after its first season.
Like a good multi-hyphenate, Perkins currently writes for shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Amber Ruffin Show while also starring in the Saved by the Bell reboot.
Known for her work on Apple TV+’s Dickinson, Ayo Edebiri is a writer, actress, producer, and comedian from Boston. At the age of 25, Edebiri is pretty new to Hollywood, but she’s staking her claim as a talent to watch out for. Before appearing on Comedy Central’s Up Next, Edebiri teamed up with friend Rachel Sennott to create the web series Ayo and Rachel Are Single, backed by the same network.
In 2020, Jenny Slate announced that she would step down from her role as Missy in Netflix’s Big Mouth for the sole purpose of leaving space for a Black actor to voice the character. Edebiri was selected as her replacement and began voicing the role in the show’s fourth season.
Edebiri’s upcoming projects include Netflix’s animated series We Lost Our Human and Dickinson, for which she’ll be writing and starring in its second season.
Here are some we recommend checking out: