“Anansi Boys as a TV series has been a long time coming…we needed a lead director with the craft and vision of Hanelle Culpepper, we needed the creative and technical wizardry of Douglas Mackinnon, and we needed the rest of the amazing talents that nobody knows about yet. We are trying to make a new kind of show with Anansi Boys, and to break ground with it to make something that celebrates and rejoices in diversity both in front of and behind the camera.” – Neil Gaiman, The Hollywood Reporter
The sensitivity and research devoted to the world-building, makes this show already stand heads and shoulders above the rest of the shows at the CW. This show has so many people in the cast that are Asian. Much like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians, it acknowledges the fact but doesn’t dwell on it. It envelops the audience into what eventually is a well-told story.
Hanelle Culpepper ’92 won a 2021 NAACP Image Award for her directorial work on the debut episode of Star Trek: Picard at the 52nd annual ceremony on March 27.
Culpepper made history in 2019 when it was announced she would be the first woman of color to launch a new Star Trek series. Winning the coveted NAACP Image Award for her work confirms Culpepper’s standing as one of the top directors in the industry.
From TheMarySue.com: ‘This Kung Fu is for a new generation. It’s still about standing up for what’s right and fighting for those who can’t defend themselves, but instead of focusing on a white man, it’s about an Asian woman and her family. That change is essential.’
On Tuesday, director Hanelle Culpepper won the Image Award for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for her work on the series premiere of Star Trek: Picard “Remembrance.” She beat out competition from Cheryl Dunye (Lovecraft Country – “Strange Case” on HBO), Misha Green (Lovecraft Country – “Jig-a-Bobo” on HBO), Nzingha Stewart (Little Fires Everywhere – “The Uncanny” on Hulu), and Steve McQueen (Small Axe – “Mangrove” on Amazon ).
“People are not used to seeing a Black woman director. The majority of the time, people are excited…It’s a cool thing, but it’s also frustrating because it shouldn’t be that way.” She continued, “As soon as I see what casting breakdown is needed, I’ll ask the producers, ‘Are you open to turning this male role into a female role or this white role into a diverse role?’”
“Star Trek” has always had a diverse cast, from George Takei, who is Japanese, to Nichelle Nichols, who is African-American. And now, the popular TV series has Hanelle Culpepper, its first Black female director in the franchise’s history of more than 50 years.
For IMDB, I offer up a quick cross-section of a handful of key movies and shows — in alphabetical order — some that inspired my fascination as a little girl, some that shaped my desire to come to Hollywood and tell stories, and some that ultimately taught me how to think cinematically. All are worthwhile, and I hope you enjoy checking them out.
— Hanelle M. Culpepper
Two years ago, right about this time, pre-pandemic and pre-BLM summer, I got the call. Alex Kurtzman loved my vision and was entrusting me to guide the return of a beloved hero – Captain Picard. Today, I’m honored to be nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for the Star Trek: Picard pilot. When I got the job, I didn’t realize that I was the first Black director and first woman director to launch any Star Trek movie or series. Why? It never crossed my mind; I was too busy thinking about the work.
The NAACP Image Awards celebrate outstanding Black achievements in film, television, music and literature. The 2021 awards are the 52nd annual awards, and the first in which Star Trek has been nominated, at least since Star Trek: Discovery premiered.
The three awards that Star Trek was nominated for are: Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series (for Hanelle Culpepper from the Star Trek: Picard episode “Remembrance”), Outstanding Animated Series (for Star Trek: Lower Decks), and Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance (Television) (for Dawnn Lewis, also from Star Trek: Lower Decks).