All photos by: Claudia Lucia
You know how the saying goes: "Empowered women, empower women."
That's exactly what Lena Waithe, Nkechi Okoro Carroll, and Erika L. Johnson are doing with "Black Women Who Brunch," a networking group that the three created exclusively for Black women television writers.
Back in 2014, Carroll, then an executive story editor on "Bones," and Waithe, then an up-and-coming writer, met during a WGA Committee of Black Writers event. Forming what they call a kinship, Carroll went on to help Waithe get hired as a staff writer on her Fox procedural. This made Waithe the second Black woman in the room - but that wasn't enough.
"We often felt like unicorns," Okoro Carroll told The Hollywood Reporter. "When someone asked me to recommend mid-level female writers (of color) for a job, I was appalled to realize I didn't know many names."
So, Carroll and Waithe joined forces with Erika L. Johnson, who was then writing for BET's "Being Mary Jane" to start a network for Black women television writers that is now known as Black Women Who Brunch. Coming from having 12 women at the first meeting in March of 2014, the network has nearly 80 members today. The Hollywood Reporter reports Johnson saying:
"'This group is the proof' against and antidote to people saying, 'We can't find any Black female writers.'"
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve your dreams. Seven years ago I got my first writing job on Shameless. Now I’m standing beside these amazing Black women writer who are changing the game. Be tenacious. Creative. Kind. Dream. Believe. Nothing is impossible. pic.twitter.com/CwSuPva8HT— LaToya Morgan (@MorganicInk) August 6, 2018
Waithe added: "It's not just a community we're building, but a resource. We really are able to recommend eight or nine Black women for certain jobs."
When 62 of its members came together for The Hollywood Reporter's largest ever photo shoot last month, the ladies shared "what they wish their colleagues knew about being a Black woman in the business." Check it out here.