In celebration of National Women’s History Month and the National Women’s History Project’s theme of “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories,” The Black Business Association (BBA) presented their 20th annual Salute to Black Women Business Conference, Vendor Faire & Awards Luncheon.
As part of the event, film director and screenwriter Gina Maria Prince-Bythewood spoke with Dr. Moshe Lewis about the power of telling positive stories of black women on the big screen.
Prince-Bythewood began her career in the 1990s as a writer for various television shows before making her feature film directorial debut with Love & Basketball in 2000, which earned her an Independent Spirit Award. She has since directed and written for other films such as Disappearing Acts (2000), The Secret Life of Bees (2008), Beyond the Lights (2014), and The Old Guard (2020), becoming the first black woman to direct a major comic-book film.
Through her films, Prince-Bythewood challenges cultural stereotypes about women of color and presents them as dynamic and ambitious figures who are committed to achieving their goals. Her films also resist negative conceptions about women’s ability to balance their professional pursuits with their romantic relationships. As Prince-Bythewood stated in an interview about Love & Basketball, “I just wanted to normalize the belief that you can have both. I wanted to normalize girls like Monica, who were girls like me, who grew up playing sports and were…made to feel different.”
By telling stories that challenge expectations and celebrate the complexity of black women’s experiences, Prince-Bythewood has made a significant impact on the film industry. She has been recognized with nominations for Best Director at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards and the British Academy Film Awards for The Woman King, and her work has been celebrated for its powerful representation of black women.
As we celebrate National Women’s History Month and the theme of “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories,” let us remember and honor the contributions of women like Prince-Bythewood who have paved the way for greater representation and inclusivity in the film industry. By continuing to support and amplify the voices of women who tell our stories, we can create a more diverse and inclusive world that reflects the richness and complexity of the human experience.