Codeblack Films is developing a highly anticipated film about the life of iconic activist Angela Davis and at the helm of the project is a Black woman — film producer Sidra Smith.
And if you can’t tell, we couldn’t be more excited!
If you’re not already familiar with the Harlem-residing, Camden, New Jersey native, now’s a good time to catch up.
Here are seven things you should know:
1. Sidra produced the 2013 NAACP Image Award-winning documentary ‘Free Angela and All Political Prisoners.’ Directed by Shola Lynch and executive produced by Jada Pinkett Smith (who Sidra personally brought onto the project), the film explores the turbulent months in 1972 that activist Angela Davis spent on trial for murder, conspiracy and kidnapping. She was later acquitted for all charges.
2. She started her career casting music videos for Dr. Dre in the early 90’s and moved quickly to assisting on feature films, before creating Sidra Smith Casting that focused on ad campaigns and TV commercials.
3. Her first feature film, ‘A Luv Tale’ (1999), won the Audience Award at the Hollywood Black Film Festival, and stars MC Lyte, Tichina Arnold, and Gina Ravera. A love story between two women, the film is a cult classic in the LGBT community, and is currently being developed into a series.
4. Her identical twin sister is veteran actress Tasha Smith. While Sidra is a force behind-the-scenes, her sister prefers to stay out front, and currently stars in some of today’s hottest TV shows from ‘Empire,’ to ‘Power’ to the lead in Tyler Perry’s ‘For Better Or Worse.’
5. Sidra lived in Ghana for two years where she produced documentaries, 50 episodes of a pan African talk show, and still found time to volunteer every Saturday with boys from a local orphanage.
6. She created Gate Pass Entertainment, a New York-based event planning business to satisfy her love for helping people bring their ideas to life.
7. A former model, Sidra moved to Paris at 19 years old where she worked showrooms for a few months before eventually landing in Italy where she signed with an agency and worked for two years. Though her modeling career was cut short because of her love for pasta, she did develop exemplary culinary skills!
This article first appeared on Essence.com on Sept. 29th, 2016