Episode 02: Queen Sugar's Tina Mabry - It Only Takes One Yes - FunnyBrownGirl: Comedian, Speaker, Podcaster
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Episode 02: Queen Sugar’s Tina Mabry – It Only Takes One Yes


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A native of Tupelo, Mississippi, Tina Mabry graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts with an MFA in Film Production in 2005. A true hyphenate, Tina is a writer, director, and producer for television and film. She is currently a writer and producer for Fox’s upcoming series, PROVEN INNOCENT. She was a co-producer, writer, and director for the second season of USA’s hit drama QUEEN OF THE SOUTH. Tina was also a producer, writer, and director on OWN’s QUEEN SUGAR created by Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey. Tina produced and directed MELODY 1963: LOVE HAS TO WIN, an American Girl special for Amazon Kids. The special earned Tina a DGA Award and a NAACP Award. Tina’s other television directing credits include Netflix’s DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, ABC’s THE MAYOR, HBO’s INSECURE, FX’s POSE, and STARZ’s POWER.

In film, Tina began her career co-writing the feature screenplay ITTY BITTY TITTY COMMITTEE directed by Jamie Babbit. The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2007 and won Best Feature Narrative at South by Southwest Film and Music Festival. Tina went on to write and direct her first feature film, MISSISSIPPI DAMNED, which garnered an impressive thirteen awards for participation in fifteen film festivals including awards for Best Feature Film and Best Screenplay at the Chicago International Film Festival in 2009.The film premiered on Showtime Networks in February 2011.

Tina was named among the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in Filmmaker Magazine in July of 2009 and was recognized by Out Magazine as one of the most inspirational and outstanding people of the year. She was featured in the Advocate magazine as part of their “Top Forty Under 40” issue, which features the top 40 individuals who are raising the bar in their respective fields. Tina has participated in several talent development programs including Film Independent’s Writers’ Lab, Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access, and Sundance’s Screenwriters Intensive.


Key Questions answered by Tina Mabry:

  • How to become a writer/producer/director in TV & Film
  • Do you need an MFA to be successful?
  • Advice for creative on their journey
  • Tina’s definition of success?
  • How has Tina’s race, gender, and sexuality impacted her career and how has she challenged it?

Tina Mabry discusses:

  • Deciding to stop studying for law school and applying for film school
  • Having a tribe to read your writing and keep you honest
  • Developing well-rounded characters in your writing
  • How Tina linked up with Ava DuVernay and got distribution via Netflix
  • Navigating the film festival circuit and creating a strategy to sell your film and yourself
  • What steps Tina took to become a writer/director for hit shows such as Power, Insecure, Queen of the South, Queen Sugar and Dear White People
  • How Tina turned her idols into mentors: Gina Prince-Bythewood and Kimberly Peirce
  • How to build your brand to get noticed
  • How Tina’s keeps improving herself and her craft
  • How Tina got the opportunity to be part of the movie The Hate U Give and her review of the movie
  • Why women cry (love this!)
  • Advice to be successful – importance of patience, finding someone to shadow, and much more!


Tina Mabry’s Memorable Quotes:

  • Fear can hold you back or it can drive you. It’s how you respond.
  • It doesn’t matter about the “no’s” you get. It’s the one “yes” you get.
  • It’s ok not to feel 100% confident. You have to build that muscle.


Links mentioned on this episode


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Social Media Info

Connect on Instagram:

Tina Mabry – @TinaMabry

FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl


Connect on Twitter:

Tina Mabry – @MorgansMark

FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl



Check out this episode!

  • Anne
    Posted at 06:00h, 13 October Reply

    Such a great episode! Tina gives great advice for aspiring filmmakers! Thank you for sharing this with us!

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