Storytelling is a powerful tool. Yet, today, two in three Black Americans still say they don’t see themselves or their culture represented in movies or television1. As a part of our commitment to Widen The Screen, creative forces like Queen Latifah — cultural music icon, actor, producer and host of the ‘54th NAACP Image Awards’ — come together with us to help Widen the View of the vastness, beauty, joy, and resilience of Black life through signature talent development programs like the Queen Collective.
Launched in 2018, Queen Collective is a partnership between P&G, Queen Latifah, Flavor Unit Entertainment, and Tribeca Studios that has enabled a record number of diverse directors and other creatives. Together with our brands including My Black is Beautiful, Crest, Oral B, and Pampers, the program accelerates gender and racial equality behind the camera by opening doors for the next generation of multicultural women and non-binary directors through mentorship, production support, and distribution opportunities.
Now in its fourth year, Queen Collective returns to our screens with five original documentaries and the program's first scripted short on the weekend of the “54th NAACP Image Awards”. The first of these films GAPS and IN HER ELEMENT will premier during Black History Month on BET on Friday, February 24, and run across BET's platforms, including BET HER, BET Soul, BET Jams, Paramount+, SHO x BET On-Demand, VH1 On-Demand, MTV On-Demand.
Centering New Stories
“When you lack diversity, you don’t get the breadth of stories, and communities and lived experiences,” says Idil Ibrahim, director of IN HER ELEMENT. “Widen The Screen will help us bring Daisha’s story to the masses.”
Ibrahim is an award-winning director, producer and changemaker whose films have screened at the top international film festivals. IN HER ELEMENT follows the journey of Daisha McBride, an up-and-coming hip hop artist in Nashville, Tennessee, as she gets the chance of a lifetime to break boundaries in the global epicenter of country music — and seizes the opportunity.
GAPS, the first ever Queen Collective fictional short, follows the story of Sydney Bailey, a 12-year-old struggling with her self-esteem and obsessing over her gapped front teeth. Directed by Jenn Shaw, an award-winning commercial, documentary, and narrative filmmaker specializing in sports, coming-of-age and dramady content, GAPS is an inspiring look into the mind of an imaginative pre-teen who, with support from her tight knit family, finds herself at a crossroads in her journey to self-confidence.
These films centering young Black women and their stories of self-acceptance, love, and actualization reflect Black people’s experiences in America and all over the diaspora. A total of six films by Black women storytellers will be released as part of the Year 4 Queen Collective.
Two documentary shorts tell the amazing stories of inspirational women. Luchina Fisher’s film, TEAM DREAM, follows friends and competitive swimmers Ann and Madeline on their journey to the National Senior Games, where nothing — including age, race or history — stands in their way.
Find inspiration to follow your dreams as Fisher brings her award-winning talents as a director, writer and producer to thoughtfully weave this beautiful story of friendship with the triumphant history of Black Americans over segregated swimming and the lost ancestral history of Africans and the water.
NEGRA, YO SOY BELLA, by Vashni Korin, showcases the powerful message of visibility and recognition of the African heritage in Puerto Rico — a country with a history of denying and ignoring this aspect of its culture. In NEGRA, YO SOY BELLA, Korin, a Caribbean-American director from New York known for her work on aspects of womanhood, tradition and spirit of the diaspora, tells the story of Mar Cruz, an Afro-Puerto Rican woman who uses Bomba, a rhythm and dance form created by Africans in the 1600s, to connect with her roots, transform and heal generational wounds.
Explore these ground-breaking stories on BET platforms throughout Women’s History Month and all year.
Promoting Mental and Physical Well-Being
The release of BONE BLACK: MIDWIVES VS. THE SOUTH coincided with the observance of Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW). Held annually on April 11-17th, BMHW is a week-long campaign founded and led by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance to build awareness, activism and community-building to amplify the voices, perspectives and lived experiences of Black Mamas and birthing people.
Directed and produced by Imani Dennison, an experimental documentary filmmaker and director of photography based in Brooklyn, New York, BONE BLACK: MIDWIVES VS. THE SOUTH is a documentary paying homage to stories of nontraditional birthing methods practiced in the South, through the eyes of Maryland-based doula Charnise Littles, as she interrogates the causes, effects and solutions for high Black infant mortality rates.
The premiere of FOUNDER GIRLS marks the final of the Year 4 cohort. Directed and produced by Contessa Gayles, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, journalist and producer, the film tells the story of over 100 Black girls who spend a week at Camp Founder Girls in San Antonio, Texas, where they celebrate their unique identities while learning to center the commonalities that unite them.
At P&G, we also see unique differences as opportunities to strengthen and unite us, and we celebrate this year’s filmmakers who have given us so many rich and new portrayals of the joy, beauty, and vastness of Black life.
Watch and celebrate with us when FOUNDER GIRLS premieres.
Honoring Black Culture Creators
In addition to the film premieres, more about the Queen Collective program and the films was featured during the 54thNAACP Image Awards: Our Stories, Our Culture, and Our Excellence. Globally recognized as one of the most distinguished multicultural awards shows, the 54th NAACP Image Awards continue a tradition of excellence, uplifting values that inspire equality, justice, and progressive change, and highlighting artists committed to that purpose.
As part of the “54th NAACP Image Awards” week-long celebration, P&G will conduct a panel event moderated by award-winning entertainment journalist, Gia Peppers, featuring all six dynamic filmmakers from this season. Together with BET, P&G is also the presenting sponsor of the 54th NAACP Image Awards in-show celebration of women filmmakers as part of the “Direct Effect” segment.
Congratulations to Gina Prince-Bythewood and Regina King for their recognition as this year's well-deserved and distinguished Queen Collective Direct Effect honorees! For the past three decades, Gina Prince-Bythewood has made a lasting impact by telling the stories of empowered Black women that Widen The Screen. Hollywood legend, Regina King, has shined at the highest level for 40 years (and counting) as an actor, writer and director, bringing stories that Widen Our View of the vastness, beauty, joy and resilience of Black life to screens.
The award honored their unique perspectives, inspiration to generations, and drive to open doors for so many others to walk through.
### Inspiring Inclusive Impact
Our efforts to Widen The Screen to create even more opportunities for Black filmmakers, expand platforms with more stories that Widen the View of Black life and inspire inclusive investment are creating systemic change across the creative industry. Queen Collective has:
- Provided nearly 250 jobs, more than 60% of those were to people of color in the first three years alone;
- Doubled the number of films by female directors of color in Year 4 of the program;
- Contributed to the creation of over 300 minutes of representative content produced as part of the Widen the Screen platform;
- Screened at over 30 film festivals including the Sundance Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival, Tribeca Festival, and Martha’s Vineyard’s African American Film Festival, securing multiple awards and recognitions;
- Driven inclusive growth through increased investment in Black owned media companies, including Group Black, Central City Productions and Allen Media Group, as well as in longstanding Black operated partners such as BET and OWN to encourage the elimination of investment inequalities in the creative supply chain and reach diverse audiences with resonant content.
Together with Queen Collective, BET and the NAACP Image Awards, we are telling new stories, changing the images we see, and driving engagement in our call to action to Widen The Screen.
Learn more about the impact of Widen The Screen’s.
1 #Representation Matters report by the National Research Group