Not the Average Hollywood Filmmaker by Chiquita Dennie

The biggest lie that I've been told about my black womanhood is that you'll never make it in Hollywood. A black girl from TN has no business thinking she can be the next Martin Scorsese, or Orson Wells. Growing up we've been taught in school to just do enough to get through high school, get your 9-5 job and be happy. A College degree is something you should never even think of attaining. I was shocked and discouraged in the beginning because nothing is setup to make a big impact for the Arts in Memphis, TN besides music. I decided after watching my first black & white movie to make a change, and with the support of my family, moved out at 18 to live with my aunt in Arizona and attend college. The single most important thing I’ve ever done, to be able to see a world outside of TN changed my view on so many things.

Out on my own at 20 years old and working two jobs to attend school. After graduation I called my mom and told her I was moving to LA.  She didn’t believe me at first, and was of course scared for me, after some convincing and reminding her that I have family in Arizona and if it doesn’t work out for me here, I can always move back to AZ. Eventually she was on board and has supported me ever since. With no place to stay, and leaving for work every morning at 4 AM on the bus and freshly new to LA, it was an eye opening experience. After many years in LA, lucky to have worked on many different TV shows from The Dr. Phil Show, Tyra Banks Show, Too Late with Adam Carolla, Deal or No Deal, MTV and more. This has led me to establish a production with my writing partner called The Pink Film Company. We create stories that aren't the typical sassy black friend, or ratchet black mamma. Our stories cross all barriers and encompasses a new way of telling our journey from past, present and future.

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What is my Truth? My truth is that I may never get to sit in on the big meetings with a Tom Cruise to close 100-million-dollar deal or fit a size 2 and that's okay. I know that I can create my own deals through other avenues that will have long lasting returns for not only myself, but other upcoming indie artists. What you see is what you get. I'm never put in a box to think one way or do something the same as the next artist. We all have our own talents, it's how we choose to distribute those talents in a productive and inclusive manner that sets you apart. My purpose is to continue my passions and help support the next generation of black women filmmakers. The old establishment will try to cut us down and tell us to stay in our place, and some might. I choose to speak and let my work tell the story of what's going on and how we can continue to build confidence in our next generation of little black girls to know that you can reach any star as long as you work hard. Always continue to strive and work hard, and never forget where I come from.



Chiquita Dennie

Executive Producer, Screenwriter, Director

Twitter: @chiquitadennie