From the global blockbuster Black Panther and the lyrical indie If Beale Street Could Talk to the hilariously poignant comedy sensations Insecure and Atlanta and beyond, #BlackExcellence in Hollywood is on full blast. Rightfully, the movement has put an additional spotlight on Black creative executives, many of whom have long worked in the trenches to create a pipeline of opportunity for traditionally underrepresented groups. In turn, that has ignited the spark that many tag as a “Black Hollywood Renaissance.”
In recognition of this movement, the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and the African Black American (ABA) Film Society at the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles campus present the inaugural learning lab, Celebrating Black Excellence in Cinema, at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 18 at the NYFA Theater (3300 Riverside Drive) featuring Tendo Nagenda and Alana Mayo, two of the most dynamic creative executives in the industry and moderated by AAFCA founder/president Gil Robertson. Celebrating Black Excellence in Cinema promises to be a fantastic evening exploring the road and role of Black creative executives in Hollywood.
Tendo Nagenda is widely considered one of the most talented creative executives in Hollywood today. At Walt Disney Studios, Nagenda rose to Executive Vice President of Production before joining Netflix as Vice President of Original Films in August 2018. Because Nagenda was a critical ingredient to the success of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Saving Mr. Banks and spearheaded the big screen films Queen of Katwe, starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo and set in Uganda, and the re-imagined big screen adaption of A Wrinkle in Time directed by Ava DuVernay and starring Storm Reid, the trades largely covered his arrival at Netflix as a major coup. Nagenda also played a role in the upcoming anticipated Disney live action films, Dumbo, and Mulan. Now the question is: what does he have in store for Netflix?
Prior to becoming Head of Production and Development for Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society Productions in January 2018, Alana Mayo, who interned for Lee Daniels as a college student, served as Vice President and Head of Originals at Vimeo. Before joining Vimeo, Mayo spent most of her career at Paramount, where she rose to Vice President of Production, and worked on Fences, the big screen adaptation of star playwright August Wilson’s most well-known work directed by and starring Denzel Washington that earned Viola Davis an Oscar, and Selma directed by Ava DuVernay. Mayo is an authentic millennial voice who has fresh and innovative ideas about where millennial Hollywood is going next and the role Black creatives will play in the journey.
To participate in the inaugural learning lab, Black Excellence in Cinema, RSVP to hub.nyfa.edu.