January 5th is National Screenwriters Day. This holiday celebrates the unsung dynamos who work diligently to bring us the bodies of work we enjoy so much.

A quick Google search will highlight the vast offering of distinguished Black screenwriters who have impacted the film and entertainment industry. As there is a burgeoning of rising Black screenwriters who are blazing their own path, they stand on the shoulders of innovators who charted the territory for them to step on. They bring underrepresented stories to the forefront in a manner that is aesthetically pleasing and unique to watch.

Below are eight talented screenwriters who have positively reformed and reshaped Hollywood.

Jordan Peele

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Jordan Peele has invoked an alternative approach to seeing Black folks in thriller films. Directing, producing and writing Us, Nope, Candyman and Wendell & Wilde, he has cultivated a canon of film that is representative and electric to witness.

Shonda Rhimes

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For quite some time, Shonda Rhimes has does it all. From dominating on the ABC network with diverse shows to taking her talents to Netflix with the Bridgerton franchise, Rhimes strives to stray away from stereotypical depictions of people while empowering viewers through exciting and layered storytelling.

Robert Townsend

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Robert Townsend is a multifaceted writer who personified the term "creative" before its time. He wrote, produce and directed the film Hollywood Shuffle which catapulted him to become one of the most respected Black figures in entertainment. His work showcases Black folks from all walks of life and has become respective staples within our community.

Issa Rae

Issa Rae. Photo by Jabari Jacobs.
Issa Rae. Photo by Jabari Jacobs.

Issa Rae has contributed her visit to the set of Moesha in 1996 as the start of her passion for writing and the template for the work she has done in her career. Since that time, she has soared to great heights and developed scripts that have delivered us some of our favorite characters.

Gina Prince-Bythewood

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From Love & Basketball to The Woman King, Gina Prince-Bythewood knows how to bring beautiful drama to the screen. She centers the experiences of varying Black women which makes her work intrinsically special.

Keenan Ivory Wayans

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Jumpstarting the comedic dynasty that is the Wayans family, Keenan Ivory Wayans has written for some of the most landmark films and TV shows in Black Hollywood history. In Living Color, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka and White Chicks are just a few of the legendary projects that he has lended his pen to.