March 3, 2024


EXCLUSIVE: Black Boy Writes Media, founded by Writer Mike Gauyo (Insecure, Ginny and Georgia) announces Heather Daughtry as the new chief of programming for The Black Boy Writes & Black Girl Writes Mentorship Initiative. Also joining the team are three additional mentors; Jackie Penn (4400), Andre Ferguson (Power Book II: Ghost), and Cynthia Adarkwa (Legacies).

Heather Daughtry previously managed Sponsorships and Partnerships at Final Draft, Inc, where she played a key role in fostering relationships with various screenwriting organizations, film festivals, schools, and mentorship programs. Notably, her efforts have been dedicated to amplifying the voices of underrepresented writers, reflecting her passion for inclusivity and diversity within the industry.

Of the mentorship initiative, Daughtry says, “Working with the Black Boy Writes/Black Girl Writes Mentorship Program feels like home. As Chief of Programming, I am deeply committed to continuing the work of propelling the powerful and vibrant voices of Black storytellers.

Mike adds, “I’m excited about the future of this program and our recent team expansion. Heather coming on board as our Chief of Programming felt seamless and in a short time she’s already making a huge impact. Additionally, I’d love to thank our three new mentors for contributing their time, knowledge and resources to our mentees, who are beyond thrilled for their guidance and mentorship.”

Meet the mentors:

Andre J. Ferguson was raised in the inner city of Jamaica Queens New York, with a father who served as a NYPD narcotics detective and a mother who was a NYC public school art teacher. Later he moved to Los Angeles where he began writing screenplays and submitted his spec script to showrunner Courtney Kemp, which led him to being hired as a staff writer for the hit series Power. Andre is currently a producer on the hit Starz series Power book:II Ghost. Andre says. “I’m thrilled to join this wonderful initiative that will give the next wave of Black television writers the tools to succeed in our industry.”

Jackie Penn, after several years as a Spanish teacher, left to pursue a career in television. Now an LA-based drama writer, Jackie’s writing focuses primarily on diverse female-driven stories that explore friendship, found family, identity, and love. She was an assistant on several shows including Siren and Ginny and Georgia before her first staff writing job on Turner & Hooch for Disney+. She was most recently a story editor on the CW’s 4400 and a WGA Strike Captain. Of becoming a mentor, Jackie Penn says, “As someone who worked as an assistant before getting staffed, I understand how hard it is, especially for writers of color in this industry. I truly believe we all rise together and I will continue to send the ladder back down to help others.”

Cynthia Adarkwa is a Ghanaian American writer and producer. She earned a BFA in Dramatic Writing from the Savannah College of Art & Design, then went on to write for a number of shows including the CW’s Legacies, Hulu’s Saint X and the upcoming series Emperor of Ocean Park for MGM+. Ultimately, Cynthia tells stories about Black women finding their place in the world. Of joining the Mentorship program, Cynthia says, “I’m thrilled to join this wonderful initiative that will give the next wave of black television writers the tools to succeed in our industry.”

To learn more about Mike Gauyo’s Mentorship initiative or Black Boy Writes Media, please visit http://www.blackboywrites.com. 

Mike Gauyo is represented by Brad Rosenfeld and Karen Kirkland at Culture Creative Entertainment, Natalia Willaims at M88, and attorney Marcie Cleary at Frankfurt Kurnit, Klein, & Selz.



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