Piece of The Pie is a new TMZ franchise showcasing amazingly talented people of color who have had trouble making their mark in the entertainment industry.
Our goal here is to raise awareness on behalf of marginalized voices and creators -- people who have great stories to tell -- and make sure the people who pull the strings in the industry see what they bring to the table. So here goes.
Nakia Stephens is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker who found success telling stories back home in Georgia, but she's encountered obstacles getting work in Hollywood, where she says the boardroom and pitch meetings look quite different from Atlanta.
Nakia chronicles her difficulties breaking into Hollywood with TMZ's Loren Lorosa, explaining one of the most striking disparities she's noticed between Atlanta and Tinseltown is the absence of execs and other people in power who look like her.
Despite some solid credentials -- creating her own screenwriting label, Damn Write Originals, and getting 20 of her screenplays produced -- Nakia says it's been almost impossible to get a green light for her screenplays in Hollywood, where major networks seem averse to telling uniquely Black stories.
When she enters a pitch meeting and sees a lack of diverse faces, Nakia knows the odds are against her.
The problem, Nakia says, is you need Black people to tell Black stories ... and Black storytellers and creatives should have the same opportunities as anyone else, because their stories matter too.