WITH PRODUCER TRESSA AZAREL SMALLWOOD PRODUCTION BEGINS TODAY, MARCH 15th with FILMS TO PREMIERE ON BET HER JULY 9, 2022 and OCTOBER 8, 2022
BET Her Presents: The Waiting Room and The Couch special bringing light to health struggles experienced by black women with four well-known African American forces behind the camera
MEAGAN GOOD, NATURI NAUGHTON, TICHINA ARNOLD and LISARAYE McCOY direct
(March 15, 2022 – 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.
“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.