EXCLUSIVE: Mike Gauyo, who is known for his writing work on Netflix’s Ginny & Georgia and the Emmy-winning Insecure, in partnership with Stage 32, Culture Creative Entertainment, Writ Large, and Final Draft have unveiled the new round of mentees for the Black Boy Writes & Black Girl Writes Mentorship Initiative.

The partnership with Stage 32, consisted of a global search for emerging Black writers, which resulted in 829 applications from 21 different countries. And out of all the talent came a mentee class of 14 writers from New York, Georgia, Florida, Arizona and the United Kingdom.

For those who needs a refresher, Gauyo founded Black Boy Writes Media (BBWM) in 2021. The production company looked to elevate historically marginalized voices in Hollywood and beyond. To help bolster his company’s mission statement, he amplifies voices of new writers through the aforementioned Black Boy Writes and Black Girl Writes Mentorship Initiative.

“I launched this program in hopes of creating a space for Black Writers to have access towards a career in writing that otherwise may have felt out of their reach,” said Gauyo. “I’m happy to partner with Richard Botto and Stage32, who are helping to facilitate that mission, my agency and management firm, Culture Creative Entertainment and Writ Large, respectively, who have agreed to provide invaluable resources, as well as Final Draft, the premier software for screenwriters, for sponsoring and being day one supporters of the program..”

“We believe in giving access and opportunity to undiscovered, diverse talent and are thrilled with the outpouring of entries we received from the Stage 32 community for the Black Boy Writes Black Girl Writes Mentorship Initiative,” said Richard Botto, Stage 32 CEO. “The winning writers are simply amazing and I’m looking forward to working with Mike Gauyo and his team to provide the proper training and access to give this talented group the opportunity to move their career forward to the next level.”

Watch Gauyo’s interview with Cheddar News where he talks more about the initiative.

The yearlong initiative provides pre-WGA Black writers with a sustainable pathway to becoming established screenwriters in entertainment. The Mentorship Initiative, which is co-ran by Ashley Aronson, Gauyo’s Chief of Programming, addresses an ever-pressing need for the entertainment industry to improve the narratives around people of color, which is underscored in the recent NAACP ‘The Black Executive’ Report that found the “absence of Black control of media”is “harming the African American community.”

This year’s program includes:

  • Pitch sessions with industry experts.
  • Monthly writer roundtables with established writers/industry leaders; past participants include Amy Aniobi (Insecure) Kay Oyegun (This Is Us), Kemp Powers (Soul, One Night in Miami), and The Black List founder Franklin Leonard.
  • Writing Workshops to prepare mentees for fellowships, representation, and staffing opportunities.
  • General meetings with networks and production companies; past participants include Nick Jr., OutTV, Plan B and
  • Writing Workshops to prepare mentees for fellowships, representation, and staffing opportunities.
  • Training through Stage 32 Next Level Education webinars and pitch sessions with executives of choice.
  • The latest Final Draft to use during the fellowship.
  • The opportunity to be read by Culture Creative and Writ Large to be considered for representation.
  • One complimentary Stage 32 Webinar of choice for each mentee.
  • One complimentary Pitch Session of choice with a Stage 32 Executive for each mentee.

And now, the moment you have been waiting for…here’s this year’s roster of 2022 mentees:

  • Antoine Tate – Growing up in the go-go music crankin’, cherry blossom streets of Washington, D.C., Antoine “A.T.” Tate avoided trouble by retreating to his imagination, desperately using it to fuel his creativity in the form of writing. Now, he creates stories based on his experiences as a young black male that, according to him, have yet to be displayed on the screen.
  • Brooklynn Fields – is a screenwriter, motivational speaker, and passionate entrepreneur with a love for people. Her storytelling focuses on forcing tough questions within ourselves that most tend to shy away from. A college graduate that majored in business, her healing journey led her to a path in life of creating a story and helping others find their own place, peace, and passions.
  • J’ean Middleton –is a Chicago native, taking up creative space in Phoenix. He is a Natural Motivator who story-tells with the intent to capture the wildest thoughts and write them back to you. “Blessed to make it to the second act.”
  • Justin Dash – is a Bronx native with a BA in Creative Writing from Lehman College who has been in hot pursuit of a career in writing for over two decades. Passionate about all things science fiction, fantasy, and horror, Justin won’t rest until he adds his own to the growing list of Black voices entering these genres.
  • Justin Fairweather – is a writer/director with an eye towards telling human stories wrapped in a genre-based lens, valuing the intermingling of emotional truth and fresh innovation. His psychological thriller/dark comedy thesis short, DOG PERSON, claimed the DGA Grand Jury Prize for Best African American Student Film in 2019.
  • Kirby Marshall-Collins – is a Black character writer who has spent years amplifying the voices of people of color through both art and community-based organizing. She writes fun and romantic, supernatural dramedies that physicalize the vulnerabilities and victories of Black and queer people.
  • Luis G Santos – is a Dominican American writer/director whose upbringing in NYC enabled him to effectively balance the variety of cultures around him and cultivate narratives that authentically represent the Black and Latin cultures he occupies.
  • Rita Usher – is a daughter, sister, aunty, and storyteller from South LA, with a penchant for writing coming-of-age stories that focus on moral growth, adventure, and joy. She writes and directs short films starring talented kids from across the US and created an experimental web series on YouTube called “Girlhood ” The series is a four-episode, soul-loving, interpretative piece inspired by Black girls of the early 2000s.
  • Sandra Townsend– is a Southeast Londoner and science graduate turned screenwriter with a passion for storytelling. She enjoys writing dark comedy, which centers on women and likes to find the fun and fantasy in everyday life. Science and stories are both quests to understand ourselves as human beings and how we fit within the world around us.
  • Sherean Jones – is a Philly jawn whose comedy writing and directing explores the challenging and unique experiences that leave fat, Black, dark-skinned women feeling unseen. When she isn’t perfecting her character development skills through her lifelong hobby of ascribing names and personalities to her many wigs, she’s explaining what her city’s colloquial term “Jawn” actually means.
  • TD Stills – is an ATLien self-starter screenwriter, entrepreneur, and illustrator – whose podcast playlist is loaded with screenwriting, animation, and startup titles. TD mainly writes biblical horror stories – whether they are live-action or animated – rebuilding them into something deep, dark, and with a psychological twist.
  • Valerie Complex – is a Black, queer woman and military veteran who grew up in the hoods of NYC. Valerie complex’s life experiences helped shape her writing and creativity. What she has learned about movies through film journalism has been invaluable and propelled her to move on to screenwriting.
  • Willonius Hatcher – is a stand-up comedian, comedy rapper, screenwriter, and author of the self-help book “Look Like A Man, Act Like a Bitch”. Willonius created and runs the largest comedy community on the social audio app Clubhouse where he has successfully written and produced sixteen audio dramas.
  • Yvette Wren – is a comedy writer from the west side of Chicago, currently living in LA. She’s a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where she studied Music. She then switched gears and became a writer. Yvette writes character-driven stories about family and ordinary people in extraordinary situations.