BET HER, in partnership with producer Tressa Azarel Smallwood of MegaMind Media, - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

BET HER, in partnership with producer Tressa Azarel Smallwood of MegaMind Media,

BET HER, in partnership with producer Tressa Azarel Smallwood of MegaMind Media, Executive Producer for the series, announces that two of the original dramas shot as the anchor of their Women’s Health Initiative for 2022 will premiere during Minority Mental Health Month (July 2022) on Saturday, July 9th (10pm ET/PT, 9pm CT). 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 with the first two films airing this year from Meagan Good (Harlem, above left) and Naturi Naughton (Power, above right). Fall films will be directed by Tichina Arnold (Martin), and LisaRaye Mccoy (The Family Business). All films are written, directed, and produced by Black women on location in Prince Georges County, Maryland. This breaking news announcement is especially timely as May is “Mental Health Awareness Month.”

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.


In support of Minority Mental Health Month which occurs each 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. One directed by Meagan Good, the other by Naturi Naughton.


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.


“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."

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