Black Women Showrunners Making Their Mark on Television

By Carla Hay

Top, from left: Quinta Brunson, Katori Hall, Sam Jay. Bottom, from left: Tracy Oliver, Amber Ruffin, Robin Thede. (Photo credits, top, from left: ABC, Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions, Stephanie Mei-Ling/HBO. Bottom, from left: Jim Spellman/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival, Heidi Gutman/Peacock, Kevin Scanlon.)

There used to be a time when a television show like Living Single — the 1990s classic sitcom about the friendship between four African American women — would come along once a decade. Now, with the entertainment industry becoming more open to the power of diversity, more Black women than ever before are becoming showrunners to control the narrative of how Black women are seen on TV. Showrunners (who also hold the title of executive producer) make their shows’ hiring decisions, they are often the head writers of their shows, and they are sometimes the directors.

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