We had the good fortune of connecting with B. Danielle Watkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi B. Danielle, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
As a writer and a woman, the reality is there are not many people in the rooms who look like me. Being a black woman in a cisgender white man’s world is hard, and adding the LGBTQ+ component adds flare, but another strike against me when I walk into a room. I am a part of a unique sorority of women with a scarlet letter on our backs who are often overlooked and underappreciated. As a writer, it is my job to ensure that not only can our stories be told, but they can be told from an authentic point of view and a space where other women can see themselves and not be ashamed. Mainstream media has taken the “black lesbian” story and muddled it into what cisgender white men (and women sometimes) believe to be true. I live this life, and I have for almost twenty years, and I yearn to see what myself and my friends look like on the screen, yet there is nothing. Nothing authentic, nothing that doesn’t sexualize and romanticize what it means to be anything Queer. In my experiences, I have learned that many of us (if given a choice) would be “normal” because it isn’t easy walking in your truth day in and day out, and Hollywood has yet to depict what that means accurately. I have had a lot of firsts as a black lesbian in my career. I was the first black woman to write, produce, and star in a REVRY original series in 2017. In 2016 I was the first black filmmaker to be screened at the country’s only all lesbian film festival (Cinema Systers). I pride my writing career on being in rooms to tell stories that make people uncomfortable and alert at the same, just as my writing has done in the past. I am a walking billboard for the underserved community, and my goal is to bring it to the forefront one story at a time.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
New York is not only known for its famous hot wings, its historical museums, and it’s beautiful One World Observatory where you can see the skyline and the stars from high above, it is also the “City of Dreams”, and the place where rising star B. Danielle Watkins began her journey. B. Danielle Watkins, international award-winning filmmaker, and author is a native of Buffalo, New York. Watkins is on top of her game, rapidly paving her way to success with her many accomplishments.
B. Danielle began laying the groundwork for her career at the age of nine, not aware that her gift of writing would take her to higher heights in her future endeavors. By the age of 15, Watkins had her first poem published in the “Poetry Gems Collection”, presented by the Famous Poets Society.
It did not stop there, this tenacious young lady put her talents to work by publishing a three novel trilogy entitled “The No other Man Three Part Tragedy” released in 2011/2012. In 2013, Watkins began working her way up the ladder to join the ranks of some of the greats when she was officially named the head of the Creative Writing Department for M Power Productions, LLC based out of Atlanta, Georgia, the same place that the great Tyler Perry studios is located.
Working with M Power productions allowed this fierce lady to advance her way onto stage and screenwriting. In 2014, Watkins produced her first sold out show respectively titled “BlacButterflii: The Saigon Ruse Story” which premiered in Atlanta, Georgia. During this time, she was also creating a name for herself in the industry. B. Danielle decided to try her hand in writing the Gender Diverse Digital Series, “Girls Just Don’t Do That”, giving way to a fresh new perspective of the LGBTQ community and the real-life circumstances that are addressed and often marginalized. This series portrayed an open honest common-sense view to relationships, hardships and intimacy.
In January 2016, Watkins made major power moves by launching her own production company named Dream N 1 Productions based out of Las Vegas, NV. Later the same year her newly found production company produced its first major production entitled “Parallel the Documentary” based on her true-life experiences as the first African-American Filmmaker at the first all lesbian film festival in Paducah, Kentucky. This documentary has since been screened internationally in two countries, winning awards such as Best Director and Audience Choice, and causing her name to circulate through the film festival circuit.
Taking her career to the next level Ms. Watkins became the first and only African American filmmaker to write, produce and star in a REVRY original series, “3030”. 2019 proved to be one of her most defining years in her film career. After winning four Telly Awards for the documentary entitled “GRRRL: The Beauty of the Beast” and launching the second season in her original series “3030”. She has earned a plethora of accolades and acknowledgements in the film industry, making her an alchemist in the game.
Starting at the end of 2020, Watkins added another amazing title under her belt, becoming the Chief Programmer as well as Long Form Content Coordinator for the new, black LGBTQ+ led and centered television network iElevate +TV. In 2021 Watkins filmed, wrote, and contributed to over 20 projects for the network including the number one watched series written and directed by Watkins “Love & Stuff”
Adding to the list of talents Watkins added journalist to her resume when she became Staff Writer for MIM Magazine. A graduate of the HBCU Winston Salem State University, and a member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. B. Danielle Watkins gives new meaning to the saying “Black Girls Rock”; Author, Filmmaker, Screenwriter, Actress, producer breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings and propelling her way to the top. Watkins is a woman on the move, a rising star, and as Hip-Hop Artist Tobe Nwigwe would say it’s time to “EAT”!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Las Vegas is packed with so many hidden gems! I am an outdoor girl and like sitting at the lake and having a day there. The day would start at breakfast, at Distill, which I love the Hendertucky Loco Moco. Las Vegas is heavy in Pacific Islander influence, and that dish is straight from Maui! We would then go get Jetski’s, some food for the portable grill, and blow up the floats as we headed to Lake Mead and found a spot on Boulder Beach.
The rest of the week would be spent exploring the museum culture of Las Vegas, and eating at local eateries away from the hustle and bussle of the Las Vegas Limelight.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
With my story still being written, narrowing down who has pushed me this far is hard, but I must acknowledge my BESTIE BRIGADE as they had pushed me when others ignored me and supported me when others overlooked me. I don’t know where my career would be if I didn’t have a solid friend group in my corner. I love each one of them.