Monday, July 4, 2022

Meagan Good, Naturi Naughton, Tichina Arnold and LisaRaye Mcoy to Direct Short Films for BET HER

Meagan Good, Naturi Naughton, Tichina Arnold, LisaRaye Mcoy and Tressa Azarel Smallwood
Directors Meagan Good, Naturi Naughton, Tichina Arnold, LisaRaye Mcoy and Producer Tressa Azarel Smallwood

*(New York/Los Angeles) – BET HER, in partnership with producer Tressa Azarel Smallwood of MegaMind Media who is serving as Executive Producer for the series, announces four original 20-minute dramas which will premiere during Minority Mental Health Month (July 2022) and during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October 2022).

Dedicated to telling stories that support and celebrate Black women in front of and behind the camera as well as bringing awareness to important issues directly affecting the Black community, producer Smallwood spearheads the Health Initiatives under the “Her Stories” banner, which spotlights women-centered short films and highlights the next generation of Black women filmmakers.  Special invited directors include a who’s who list of TV and film icons including Meagan Good (Harlem), Naturi Naughton (Power), Tichina Arnold (Martin), and LisaRaye Mccoy (The Family Business).

All films are written, directed, and produced by Black women and began shooting today in Prince Georges County, Maryland. Press are invited to the set Saturday, March 26, when Tichina Arnold directs The first night of special programming of this series, “The Couch,”  is set to air  Saturday, July 9th at 10 pm ET/PT, and the second night airs Saturday, October 8th at 10 pm ET/PT, both on BET Her.

These 20-minute dramatic short films focus on topics vital to today’s Black women, ranging from the varied impact of breast cancer, mental health struggles, and domestic violence on them and their families.  The films will live under the BET HER “Her Stories” franchise — a platform to empower the next generation of Black women filmmakers through a curated selection of original movies and documentaries. “Her Stories” provides women filmmakers a platform to tell authentic stories that celebrate, inspire and support Black women narratives.

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Meagan Good, Naturi Naughton, Tichina Arnold, and LisaRaye Mcoy
Meagan Good, Naturi Naughton, Tichina Arnold, and LisaRaye Mcoy

“Even though I’ve licensed films to BET previously, being chosen for the third year in a row to produce these crucial initiatives and expand the series with all African-American women in front of and behind the camera exclusively for BET Her is such an honor,” says Tressa Smallwood.

“BET Her is dedicated to telling stories that support and celebrate Black women in front of and behind the camera as well as bringing awareness to important issues directly affecting the Black community,” said Lorisa Bates, VP, Content Strategy, Co-Productions & Multiplatform at BET. “We are proud to be the platform for these powerful stories and the work that our female talent has put into these projects that are ever so timely. Partnering with Tressa, BET Her hopes to educate and empower our audience by continuing to provide a platform for women filmmakers who are trailblazers in the industry.”

In support of Minority Mental Health Month this July, the third season of The Couch features two new short films about black women battling mental issues and follows their journey as they navigate through the ups and downs of dealing with their diagnosis.

Meagan Good directs the original film scripted by Ariel Driskell “Thin, Like Me!” which centers on a fitness model’s unhealthy relationship with food and body issues and comes to a head with her mother during the planning of her parents’ 40th wedding anniversary.

“Behind The Smile!,” directed by Naturi Naughton and written by Lori Conway Ray, focuses on a newly promoted anchorwoman falls who into a severe depression when she is forced to choose between her dream job and her Vitiligo support group. These two original films are set to premiere on July 9.

In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the fourth season of The Waiting Room features two new short films about black women battling breast cancer and following their journey of dealing with their diagnosis with October 8 selected for both to premiere.

Co-written by Maggy Francois and Maimah Karmo,  Tichina Arnold is set to direct “Oh Baby Baby!” which focuses on a high fashion entrepreneur trying to conceive a child when she is blindsided by developing breast cancer from IVF estrogen treatment.

“The Pink Fight,” written by K. Senay, will be directed by LisaRaye McCoy and revolves around a female boxer who is diagnosed with breast cancer and follows her battle as she and her wife fight for survival both in and out of the ring.

Tressa “Azarel” Smallwood is an award-winning Producer, and Founder of MegaMind Media, a production company specializing in creating compelling original content for female audiences. A female filmmaker making strategic moves in the film & tv industry, Tressa’s self-funded movie projects have culminated into a multi-million-dollar catalog including Secrets, Holiday Heartbreak, Dear Best Friend, and The Available Wife to name a few.

After striking a production deal with BET NETWORKS, Tressa was able to combine her passion as an advocate for mental health and her career goals as a creative by operating as Supervising Producer on The Waiting Room and The Couch, a BETher series designed to highlight breast cancer and mental health awareness. The series has given unprecedented opportunities for noteworthy actors such as Vivica Fox, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Victoria Rowell, Mona Scott Young and Kim Fields to step behind the camera as directors, paving a path for diversity that the world deserves.

BET Her is an American basic cable television network owned by ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks. The network is a spin-off of BET with a focus on general entertainment targeting African-American women. In 2006, the network was re-positioned as BET J to expand its scope to include other music programming of interest to the audience as a companion to BET’s soul and hip-hop-oriented digital networks. In 2009, the network relaunched as Centric, with a focus on lifestyle and music programming targeting an upscale African-American audience. In 2014, the network re-positioned its programming to target African-American women, and in 2017, re-branded under its current name BET Her in an effort to reinforce the network’s commitment to its new target audience.
source: BET HER/MegaMind Media




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