Women in Black History

Gina Prince-Bythewood by . Gina Prince-Bythewood, writer/director/producer

Gina Prince-Bythewood is a successful writer and director known for films that depict African Americans in a different light. She is only the second African American woman to have her work produced by a major studio. Her first feature film, Love and Basketball, became the top grossing movie ever directed by an African American woman.

Raised in Los Angeles, Prince-Bythewood attended UCLA, where she realized her passion for directing. Her career began as a writer for the black woman’s perspective on shows like A Different World, South Central, Sweet Justice, and Courthouse. Once there she would prove that she could write for all of the characters. However, writing for television kept Prince-Bythewood feeling limited. She had a strong desire to direct movies, and soon realized instead of waiting for someone to give her a chance she would have to create her own opportunity.

Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed her first screenplay which she found difficult to get attention from a studio. “Everywhere we sent the script, it got turned down,” she said. Eventually Love and Basketball was released in 2000 and grossed over $22 million. She went on to write and produce The Secret Life of Bees (2008), and Beyond the Lights (2014).

 

“For me it’s just about putting people of color in every genre and making it become normal.”

Black Women in History

canady by . Dr. Alexa Canady, Neurosurgeon/Educator

Dr. Canady is the first female African American neurosurgeon in the United States. From 1981 until her retirement in 2001 she specialized in pediatric neurosurgery. As the daughter of a dentist and an educator the value of hard work and learning was instilled in her early on. She graduated high school with honors and completed medical with cum laude recognition. Although some advisors discouraged her to pursue neurology, she continued working toward her dream. Canady has been inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame and has received the American Medical Women’s Association President’s Award.

“The greatest challenge I faced in becoming a neurosurgeon was believing it was possible.”