We’re at peak TV, but instances of women creating their own shows are still rare. For women of color, it’s even rarer. So let’s celebrate those who did the damn thing.
Who she is: Creator, executive producer, and star of the HBO series Insecure. Prior to that, she was known for her web series Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl.
What she gave us in 2016: A much-anticipated and critically acclaimed TV debut that is artfully invested in the everyday comedy and drama of adulthood. And the promise of more to come, with her comedic anthology series Minimum Wage in the works.
Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images / HBO
Who she is: Creator, composer, lead actor, and sole writer of Chewing Gum, which aired on E4 in 2015 but came to Netflix for the US in 2016.
What she gave us in 2016: Stateside access to a series built on fun raunch and the electric presence of Coel's own star power. Not to mention production on the eagerly awaited second season, because we already need more.
John Phillips / Getty Images / E4 / Netflix
Who she is: The mastermind behind Cartoon Network's Steven Universe, working as the executive producer and storyboard artist as well as writing the story for the series and most of its music.
What she gave us in 2016: Another thoroughly beloved season of Steven Universe's particular brand of deeply felt humanity, which was especially needed in a year as bleak as 2016.
Paul Zimmerman / Getty Images / Cartoon Network
Who she is: Creator, executive producer, and director of Queen Sugar on OWN. You may also know her as the director of Selma, Netflix's 13th, and the upcoming film A Wrinkle in Time.
What she gave us in 2016: A beautifully realized series that employed a crew of all-women directors for its first season. DuVernay also gave the world a devastatingly necessary look at the prison system.
Mike Windle / Getty Images / OWN