Roger Ross Williams

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Roger Ross Williams
Occupation Film director
Film producer
Years active 1995–present

Roger Ross Williams (born September 16, 1962) is an American television news, documentary and entertainment director, producer and writer. He directed most notably Music by Prudence that won the Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject), about a 21-year-old Zimbabwean singer-songwriter Prudence Mabhena, who was born severely disabled and has struggled to overcome poverty and discrimination. All other seven members of Prudence's band "Liyana" are also disabled.

Roger Ross Williams is the first African American director to win an Academy Award in his category of Documentary Shorts, and the first ever African American director to win an Academy Award for directing and producing a film, short or feature. He is a member of a Gullah family from South Carolina, and has lived and worked in New York City for the past twenty-five years. Williams attended Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He started working in 1985 and has worked for ABC News, NBC News, MSNBC, BBC, CNN and PBS. He has produced shows for ABC, CBS, Comedy Central, Food Network, Sundance Channel, TLC, VH1 and Michael Moore’s Emmy Award winning series TV Nation.

He has directed prime-time reality (for ABC and CBS) and produced a documentary series for Discovery Networks and a lifestyle series: Sheila Bridges Designer Living, for Scripps Networks.




  • 1995: People Yearbook '95 (TV) (segment producer)
  • 1996: Sex, Drugs and Consequences (TV) (producer)
  • 1997: TV Nation: Volume One (segment producer)
  • 2002: "Life 360" (segment producer) (1 episode:Telling the Children) (segment producer)
  • 2010: Music by Prudence (producer)
  • 2013: God Loves Uganda (producer)


  • 2003: New York Underground (TV)
  • 2003: The Lives They Lived (TV)
  • 2005: Sheila Bridges Designer Living: Morocco Special (TV)


Won numerous awards including:


  1. ^ "Photos Grouped by Event: 82nd Academy Awards Telecast" (Press release). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. March 7, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 

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