( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Tracy Oliver is Redefining Hollywood
ENSPIRE Contributor: Emmanuel Perilla
Tracy Oliver made cinematic history when she became the first black female to write a $100 million-plus grossing film. Tracy was already an experienced writer before ‘Girls Trip’. She has written for the web series “The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl” and co-wrote for the movie “The Barbershop: The Next Cut”. Tracy understands the scarcity of black female writers in the industry. In an interview with NBC News, she stated, “There are actually not that many black female writers in the studio space. “Becoming the first pointed that out to me. Even before “Girls Trip” Tracy felt black women weren’t getting their chance to shine in the world of entertainment.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan Magazine she said, “Just a few short years ago, in 2011, my choice to write about people of color was one I was constantly forced to defend. That time period was really bleak for writers, directors, actors, and producers of color. I remember the hopelessness I felt when I graduated from USC’s film school and looked at the lily-white landscape of my industry of choice. The idea of a black woman as the lead of a show in this landscape was scary and unproven.” Despite being in an environment where black writers weren’t encouraged to write their own unique stories, Tracy didn’t give up her craft so easily. She was determined to prove black characters could be complex and entertaining and also relate to people of all colors.
Related Article: ‘Girls Trip’ A Big Hit at the Box Office
In 2011, Tracy teamed up with her former classmate Issa Rae and launched “The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl” on Youtube. The series became a success and Tracy proved black women had the talent to be lead characters. The web series defied the stereotypes black women are often relegated to and gave a refreshing insight into the complexities of black womanhood. When Tracy heard producer Will Packer and director Malcolm D. Lee needed a writer for an upcoming film she didn’t hesitate to jump on board. Tracy Oliver describes “Girl Trip” as a tribute to black women and black female friendships. The box office dominance of “Girls Trip” came as a surprise to many, including Tracy. In an interview with NBC News she stated, “Honestly, I was stunned. I knew that the movie was going to do well because I knew that there was an audience for it, but I was not thinking $100 million. I still can’t believe it, because there are a lot of movies with all white casts that haven’t hit $100 million.”
“Girls Trip” is just the beginning of Tracy Oliver’s thriving career. Tracy has been approached for the TV reboot of the 1996 film “The First Wives Club” and has already announced she wants to make it about black women. Oliver is also set to direct a horror film she will adapt from Danielle Vega’s 2015 young adult novel “Survive the Night.” The film is about a group of girls caught in a situation at an all-night underground rave in New York City, and it will be produced by Pharrell Williams. Tracy Oliver is one of many new voices committed to telling the stories of black women and she is showing that the film industry can be diverse and entertaining at the same time. The success of “Girls Trip” marks a new period of diverse stories in the film industry.
Sources: NBC News