The entertainment industry is becoming more reflective of today’s society, with its producers, directors, writers, and actors coming from all walks of life. Over decades of progression in TV and film has been key to helping the entertainment industry strive and create new inclusive opportunities. With that progressive nature, the TV and filmmaking landscape has allowed Black-owned studios to share stories that resonate with several demographics.
These Black creators and artist have taken their talent and formed innovative production companies. For example, Ava DuVernay’s Array has produced award-winning programs that share compelling stories from minority groups. Jordan Peel’s MonkeyPaw Productions created several shows and movies that push the envelope of storytelling. Tyler Perry’s Tyler Perry Studios, located in Atlanta, Georgia, features twelve soundstages and over 220 acres of green space. Yet, it’s important to give notice to other Black-owned production companies.
Smaller Black-owned productions across the nation are making their stamp in the filmmaking world. Many of these studios have produced groundbreaking work that’s entertaining and has a hand in advancing causes. Whether it’s movies, shows, music videos, campaigns, or commercials, these production companies are showcasing the talent behind artists that will someday be familiar household names.
Hidden Empire Film Group – Los Angeles, CA
Located in Los Angeles, the multi-dimensional independent film company is owned by Deon Taylor and Roxanne Avent Taylor. Deon, a writer, filmmaker, and director, runs the production company alongside successful producer Roxanne. Hidden Empire has helped produce movies such as Fatale (2020), Black and Blue (2019), and The Intruder (2019). In addition, their heavily diversified reach into the marketplace has touched television and streaming services as well as the theater. Not yielding in just America, the production company has even gone beyond borders and onto other territories across the globe.
Holland West Productions – Atlanta, GA, Los Angeles, CA, and New York, NY
The production company was established in 2012 with work ranging from commercials to film and television to branded content. Co-founder/director Warren Oliver and fellow co-founder/director Kurt Williamson have been making their mark in filmmaking. Their contributing partners include The History Channel, Dwayne Wade, the NBA, Lifetime, and Netflix. In addition, Holland West Production has also done its part in the advancement of civilization.
They worked on promotions for Hillary Clinton with Hillary for America campaign. In addition, Holland West Productions have helped with the 2016 nonpartisan initiative, When We All Vote, that Michell Obama created. As a result, this production not only understands the value of entertainment but also knows how to do it progressively.
Invisible Collective – Los Angeles, CA
Founded by directors Justin Polk and Mel Jones and Hollywood producer Stephen Love Jr., Invisible Collective is a perfect mix of a production company and creative studio. On their website, the goal of the studio “is to create authentic and dynamic work that is culturally reflective of the American and global populations.” They feel that there is a lack of diversity in advertising with not enough minority and women directors and creatives—the studio hopes to change that.
Their impressive and talented directors have worked with the likes of rapper Doja Cat. In addition, they have worked with studios and brands such as HBO, Netflix, Beats, Microsoft Edge, Cartoon Network, and Sundance. It’s only time before they become a massive driving force in diverse entertainment.
KUAMP – New York, NY
KUAMP has been a significant player in the filmmaking world for over 20 years. The creative production company specializes in full-service video production, commercials, brand films, and branded entertainment. Founded by Antonio “Tronic” McDonald, the studio also works on premium digital video, documentaries, original programming, and music videos. The team of collaborative and creatives has worked on multiple platforms, including television, film, digital, mobile, and radio. MTV, Paramount Pictures, and USA Network have come to their doorstep looking to collaborate. Many more studios are sure to follow.
Contrast Eyes – Los Angeles, CA
Contrast Eyes website states, “To create relevant and compelling content with the most talented, diverse group of directors representing all walks of life.” Initially founded in 2007 in the capital city of Estonia, Tallinn, founder Osei Kakari moved the production company stateside in 2010. The Black and woman-owned studio have challenged the conventional way of storytelling and embraced their unique artistic collaborations. As a result, Contrast Eyes creates narratives that resonate with cross-cultural audiences through commercials, music videos, and films.
Their directors have worked with big-name brands such as Samsung, BMW, and Montblanc Timewalker and created films such as Before I Go to Sleep (2014) and The American (2010). This studio handles its filmmaking well with expertise and style.
Reel Roost – Los Angeles, CA
Executive Producer and writer Michele Barnwell spearhead her LA-based transmedia production company to resounding success. The company focuses on story-driven content creation and production for multi-platform coverage. Reel Roost strives to create an original concept or helps build up projects in a profound collaborative effort. The company’s website states they do “non-traditional casting and endeavor to produce great stories with dimensional.” Barnwell and her fellow creatives also work to humanize underrepresented groups, people of color, and Black women.
Reel Roost has worked with big-name studios such as HBO, E!, Oxygen, TLC, UK’s Channel 4, and Lifetime to produce music videos, pilots, specials, and whole series.
These Black-owned production companies and many more minority-owned studios will help revolutionize television, film, and streaming services. Therefore, it’s essential to recognize the achievements of those you strive to make their name in the entertainment industry or other businesses. Their triumphs will inspire more to reach for their creative goals and continue the journey of finding new and innovative ways of storytelling.