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16 Black Women Directors Who Are Killing It Behind The Scenes Of TV

The black girl magic doesn't just take place onscreen — it's happening behind the scenes, too.

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Charley Gallay / Nicholas Hunt / Damien Meyer / AFP / Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

1. Millicent Shelton

Shelton is what you would call prolific. She's directed almost 100 episodes of television, including episodes of Girlfriends, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Parenthood, Black-ish, Empire, The Flash, Scandal, and the upcoming series, Shots Fired.
Charley Gallay / Getty Images

Shelton is what you would call prolific. She's directed almost 100 episodes of television, including episodes of Girlfriends, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Parenthood, Black-ish, Empire, The Flash, Scandal, and the upcoming series, Shots Fired.

2. Debbie Allen

You may know Allen from her iconic role in Fame or as one of the cast of characters on Grey's Anatomy, but she's also one of Hollywood's most well-known TV directors. You might have seen her behind-the-scenes work on Insecure, Jane the Virgin, How to Get Away With Murder, Grey's, Girlfriends, A Different World, and the Fame TV show.
Joshua Blanchard

You may know Allen from her iconic role in Fame or as one of the cast of characters on Grey's Anatomy, but she's also one of Hollywood's most well-known TV directors. You might have seen her behind-the-scenes work on Insecure, Jane the Virgin, How to Get Away With Murder, Grey's, Girlfriends, A Different World, and the Fame TV show.

3. Melina Matsoukas

Matsoukas has created some of the most iconic imagery of our time. Already a legendary music video director for her work on Rihanna's "We Found Love" and Beyonce's "Formation," she also directed and executive produced most of the critically acclaimed first season of Insecure.
Nicholas Hunt

Matsoukas has created some of the most iconic imagery of our time. Already a legendary music video director for her work on Rihanna's "We Found Love" and Beyonce's "Formation," she also directed and executive produced most of the critically acclaimed first season of Insecure.

4. Neema Barnette

Barnette is out here. She was one of the fleet of all-women directors Ava DuVernay hand-picked for Season One of Queen Sugar, but Barnette's been around a lot longer than that. You might have peeped her work on shows like Being Mary Jane, Gilmore Girls, The Cosby Show, and A Different World, to name a few.
Andrew Kent / Getty Images

Barnette is out here. She was one of the fleet of all-women directors Ava DuVernay hand-picked for Season One of Queen Sugar, but Barnette's been around a lot longer than that. You might have peeped her work on shows like Being Mary Jane, Gilmore Girls, The Cosby Show, and A Different World, to name a few.

5. Victoria Mahoney

Another of the great Queen Sugar director posse, Mahoney directed and wrote the 2011 film Yelling to the Sky starring Zoe Kravitz before directing episodes of The Conversation, Survivor's Remorse, Grey's Anatomy, Power, American Crime, and Gypsy.
Damien Meyer / AFP / Getty Images

Another of the great Queen Sugar director posse, Mahoney directed and wrote the 2011 film Yelling to the Sky starring Zoe Kravitz before directing episodes of The Conversation, Survivor's Remorse, Grey's Anatomy, Power, American Crime, and Gypsy.

6. Dee Rees

Reese is making waves in Hollywood with the Sundance debut of her newest movie, Mudbound. She's directed other movies, too, including 2011's Pariah. But she's also a TV director — you can see her work on Empire and the upcoming series, When We Rise.
Nicholas Hunt

Reese is making waves in Hollywood with the Sundance debut of her newest movie, Mudbound. She's directed other movies, too, including 2011's Pariah. But she's also a TV director — you can see her work on Empire and the upcoming series, When We Rise.

7. Salli Richardson Whitfield

Also known as an actress with credits from Stitchers, I am Legend, Being Mary Jane, and more, Richardson Whitfield is also a TV director who's had her hands in shows like Queen Sugar, Eureka, Underground, Shadowhunters, and Rebel.
Mike Windle / Getty Images

Also known as an actress with credits from Stitchers, I am Legend, Being Mary Jane, and more, Richardson Whitfield is also a TV director who's had her hands in shows like Queen Sugar, Eureka, Underground, Shadowhunters, and Rebel.

8. Tina Mabry

As well as directing and writing the 2009 feature Mississippi Damned and serving as a producer on Queen Sugar, Mabry has also directed episodes of Dear White People, Queen Sugar, and Futurestates.
Mike Coppola / Getty Images

As well as directing and writing the 2009 feature Mississippi Damned and serving as a producer on Queen Sugar, Mabry has also directed episodes of Dear White People, Queen Sugar, and Futurestates.

9. Janicza Bravo

Bravo is a wardrobe designer, stylist, and short film director. She also directed the critically acclaimed "Juneteenth" episode of Atlanta.
Michael Loccisano

Bravo is a wardrobe designer, stylist, and short film director. She also directed the critically acclaimed "Juneteenth" episode of Atlanta.

10. Marta Cunningham

Cunningham, who has acted in titles like How to Be a Player and Dancing at the Blue Iguana, has also directed recent episodes of Pretty Little Liars and Transparent.
Angela Weiss / Getty Images

Cunningham, who has acted in titles like How to Be a Player and Dancing at the Blue Iguana, has also directed recent episodes of Pretty Little Liars and Transparent.

11. Darnell Martin

In addition to directing and writing feature films like Cadillac Records, Martin has directed for over 25 television shows, including but not limited to Oz, ER, several iterations of Law & Order, Gossip Girl, and The Walking Dead.
Patrick Mcmullan / Getty Images

In addition to directing and writing feature films like Cadillac Records, Martin has directed for over 25 television shows, including but not limited to Oz, ER, several iterations of Law & Order, Gossip Girl, and The Walking Dead.

12. Janice Cooke

With over 30 shows under her belt as a director alone, Cooke is incredibly present behind-the-scenes of TV. From Dawson's Creek, Charmed, One Tree Hill, and Gossip Girl, to Jane the Virgin, The Game, Pretty Little Liars, and UnREAL, Cooke is everywhere. She's also done producing work on shows like Dawson's Creek, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Wiseguy, and others.
Eric Mccandless / Getty Images

With over 30 shows under her belt as a director alone, Cooke is incredibly present behind-the-scenes of TV. From Dawson's Creek, Charmed, One Tree Hill, and Gossip Girl, to Jane the Virgin, The Game, Pretty Little Liars, and UnREAL, Cooke is everywhere. She's also done producing work on shows like Dawson's Creek, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Wiseguy, and others.

13. Hanelle Culpepper

Culpepper has directed episodes of Parenthood, Revenge, Sleepy Hollow, Castle, American Gothic, Mistresses, Quantico, The Flash, and more. She's also directed movies like 2009's Within and 2012's Murder on the 13th Floor.
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Culpepper has directed episodes of Parenthood, Revenge, Sleepy Hollow, Castle, American Gothic, Mistresses, Quantico, The Flash, and more. She's also directed movies like 2009's Within and 2012's Murder on the 13th Floor.

14. Tanya Hamilton

The director and writer of the 2010 Anthony Mackie-starring Night Catches Us, Hamilton has also directed episodes of Split Screen, Queen Sugar, and The Vampire Diaries.
Matt Carr / Getty Images

The director and writer of the 2010 Anthony Mackie-starring Night Catches Us, Hamilton has also directed episodes of Split Screen, Queen Sugar, and The Vampire Diaries.

15. Angela Robinson

Robinson has directed episodes of The L Word, Gigantic, Charlie's Angels, and True Blood. She also wrote and directed 2004's D.E.B.S., directed 2005's Herbie Fully Loaded, and served as an executive producer on The L Word and True Blood.
Alessandro Abbonizio / AFP / Getty Images

Robinson has directed episodes of The L Word, Gigantic, Charlie's Angels, and True Blood. She also wrote and directed 2004's D.E.B.S., directed 2005's Herbie Fully Loaded, and served as an executive producer on The L Word and True Blood.

16. Regina King

King is best known as an actor, especially for her roles in Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice, American Crime, and The Leftovers, but she's also an accomplished TV director. You might have seen her directing work on Southland, Being Mary Jane, Scandal, The Catch, Pitch, and more.
Mark Davis / Getty Images

King is best known as an actor, especially for her roles in Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice, American Crime, and The Leftovers, but she's also an accomplished TV director. You might have seen her directing work on Southland, Being Mary Jane, Scandal, The Catch, Pitch, and more.

Let us know in the comments about other black women kicking ass at making TV.

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