|Born||December 14, 1949|
New York City, United States
|Spouse(s)||Reed R. McCants (1 child)|
Neema Barnette is an American film director, and the first African-American woman to direct a primetime sitcom. Barnette was the first African-American woman to get a three-picture deal with Sony. Since then, she accumulated a number of awards, including a Peabody, an Emmy and NAACP Image Award.
In 1990, she founded Harlem Girl Productions Corporation. Since 1997, Barnette has also worked for the Harlem Lite Productions. She has directed multiple seasons and episodes of a variety of television sitcoms including A Different World, The Cosby Show, Gilmore Girls, and 7th Heaven.
Barnette has directed stage, episodic television, made for TV movies and feature films. Sky Captain was her first short film which she directed as part of the American Film Institute's (AFI) Directing Workshop for Women in 1985. Her 2003 film Civil Brand is a low-budget feature on women in prison who stage an uprising to protest their treatment. Her 1997 film, Spirit Lost, is a psychological thriller with a love triangle that includes a ghost.
In 2002, she was selected as one of ten artists to judge the American Film Institute's "Best Films Award".
In 2003, Barnette directed her first feature film, an adaptation of Civil Brand, she told the LA Times it was inspired by the original screenplay by Preston A Whitmore II.
Her most recent feature film is Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day (2012), her 11th movie and third for theatrical release. The film is a thriller and family drama following the story of a marriage on the rocks, which received an NAACP Image Award Nomination for Best Independent Feature in 2012. Barnette directed two episodes of Being Mary Jane: "Hot Seat" and "Don't Call It A Comeback" (2015 - Season 3). Barnette is the Executive Producer of Black History Mini Docs, 90 second videos featuring the stories of African-American heroes and she-roes, as well as daily tributes which are posted on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.
In 2003, at the age of 25, the veteran director released her first feature film “Civil Brand.” A story inspired by an urban women’s prison tale. Even after her mother passed, she encouraged Barnette to continue pursuing the film. Once the movie was completed, it earned many awards and played film festivals like Sundance, the American Film Institute, and the American Black Film Festival in Miami where “Civil Brand” won the $15,000 Blockbuster audience award.
In 2009 Barnette directed a gospel musical film, "Heaven Ain't Hard to Find," starring Kim Whitley, Cliff Powell and Reed McCants, where it previewed on platforms on HBO and BET.
Barnette won her first NAACP Image® Award for her directing efforts, like "One More Hurdle," an NBC dramatic special. Another documentary of hers titled "The Silent Crime," an NBC about domestic violence, received four local Emmy® nominations. Her successful debut resulted in subsequent directing stints on "Hooperman," "The Royal Family," "China Beach" (Peabody Award), "Frank's Place" (Emmy® Award), "The Sinbad Show," "Diagnosis Murder," "A Different World" and many episodes of "The Cosby Show."
Neema Barnette is also part of the DGA African American Steering Committee and a member of The Black Filmmakers Foundation since its inception. She is also an active AFI alumnus and takes part on the panel of the AFI Independent Film committee. She has also played a part in being on the executive board of the IFP Gordon Parks Scholarship fund. She’s been a judge for the NAACP Feature Film Award and serves as an annual judge for the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles.
Barnette owns her own production company called Harlem Girl Productions, whilst also owning a production company titled Reel Rebel Productions with her husband Reed McCants. Notably, she is also the Executive Director of a theatre and performance company for young artists titled Live Theatre Gang. Barnette is also a part-time teacher, where she teaches aspiring students a directing course at UCLA and USC. She spends the other part of her time running a theatre company titled Live Theatre Gang with her husband and actor, Reed R. McCants.
- Super Sweet 16: The Movie (2007)
- All You've Got (2005)
- Zora Is My Name!
- Better Off Dead
- Run for the Dream: The Gail Devers Story
- Close to Danger
- Spirit Lost
- Woman Thou Art Loose: On the 7th Day
- Heaven Ain't Hard to Find
- Better off Dead
- Black Lightning 2019
- Raising Dion 2019
- Midnight, Texas 2018
- The Good Cop 2018
- Love is _ 2018
- Luke Cage 2018
- Blind Spot 2018 
- The Breaks 2017
- Being Mary Jane 2015-2017
- Queen Sugar 2016
- Miracle's Boys 2005
- Gilmore Girls
- The PJs 
- Diagnosis Murder 1994-1998
- 7th Heaven
- Deadly Games 1996
- The Cosby Mysteries 1994-1995
- The Sinbad Show 1993
- The Royal Family 1991
- Different Worlds: A Story of Interracial Love
- The Cosby Show 1989-1991
- A Different World 1990-1991
- Zora Is My Name! 1990
- China Beach 1990
- The Robert Guillaume Show 1989
- It’s Living 1988-1989
- Hooperman 1989
- Frank's Place 1987
- What's Happening Now 1986
- One More Hurdle (1984)
- King of Stage: The Woodie King Jr. Story (Documentary) (executive producer)
- 2016 Queen Sugar (TV Series) (producer - 13 episodes)
- 2012 Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day (producer)
- 2008 Cuttin Da Mustard (executive producer) / (producer)
- 2002 Civil Brand (producer) 
- TO BE A MAN for ABC Television, for which she won her first Emmy Award.
- The Silent Crime, an American Women in Radio & Television award for directing.
- Barnette won an International Monitor Award for Best Director for The Cosby Show episode, 'The Day the Spores Landed.'
- ZORA IS MY NAME (American Playhouse production starring Ruby Dee which won a Lilly Award for Exceptional Representation of African American Images in Film)
- One More Hurdle,” an NBC dramatic special, won Neema her first NAACP Image® Award for her directing efforts.
- While directing an episode for Cosby in which Mr. Cosby gets pregnant, “The Day The Spores Landed” (International Monitor® Award for Best Director)
- The Delta Society awarded Neema their prestigious Lilly® Award for exceptional representation of African American images in film.
- The Cosby Mysteries. “ For one episode she directed the show received a Peabody® and Emmy® Award.
|1993||Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Shows - Daytime||American Black Film Festival||CBS Schoolbreak Special (1984)
For episode "Different Worlds: A Story of Interracial Love
|Special Jury Prize
|Urbanworld Film Festival||Civil Brand||Winner|
|Blockbuster Audience Award||The Black American Film Festival||Civil Brand||Winner|
Official Selection Filin
|Roxbury Black Film Festival n.
Sojourner Truth Award
|Pan-African Film Festival||Civil Brand||Winner|
|Best Director - Television||Black Reel Awards||Miracle's Boys||Winner|
|2017||Trailblazer||Reel Sistas of the Diaspora
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Barnette-the first black woman to direct a primetime sitcom
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'Spirit Lost' is the story of a 'brother' who is caught between two women, one of whom happens to be a ghost. Directed by Neema Barnette, [...]
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