Tracie Collins is a writer, producer, and director who’s climbing the ladder in her career but isn’t being noticed for the accolades as mainstream tends to overlook talented, self-starting, African American women creators.
Collins is well-known for her four full-production stage plays; The V Monologues, Knocking at Love’s Door, Girlfriend Chronicles, Cold Piece of Werk, and starring as “Lorelle” in the Dreamgirls stage play; “Pam” in Misery Loves Company; and “Tonisha” in JD Walker’s newest project, The Postwoman. Even with this background, Collins still continues to stay stagnant on her journey because of her skin color and the way she wears her hair. Her ultimate purpose while creating history, is to make a difference for women of color behind the scenes, and to diversify what the world sees in mainstream media.
Her career embodies what she stands for the most: blending her love for stage plays with the inception of the new-generation performers creating a distinct balance for the future of the art. Her personal cause for art merges pop culture and the stage, call it the millennial evolution of stage performance. In an exclusive interview, Collins shared with rolling out a little about her journey.
What motivated you to transition from acting to producing and directing?
For me, it was a natural progression. Wanting more creative control in the projects that were out there. I wanted to position and represent women of color in a strong, progressive light. Not how mainstream media portrays us.
Being a woman of color in a male-dominated industry, what’s been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is not being taken seriously. Or because I have an authoritative personality, being perceived as a b—h because I’m running entire productions, cast, crew, venues, budgets, etc. I strive for excellence and my job is to pull that out of people who I believe in. They always see in it in the end. I want my audience to feel as if they didn’t get enough. I want my audience leaving in awe.
How did you overcome it?
Still working on that part. But the only way to overcome it is to keep going! Keep pressing forward. Never stopping. Failure isn’t an option.
What other producers, writers or directors do you see as your primary inspirations?
Of course, Tyler Perry and Shonda Rhimes, but also Dee Rees, Antoine Fuqua and Ryan Murphy.
Are there any writers or producers you want to work with that you have not yet had the opportunity to work with?
Oh my gosh, Antoine Fuqua. Everything he touches is amazing. I would just love to be a fly on the wall of whatever his next project is just to absorb what he has to offer. And Ryan Murphy, his mind is brilliant!!! I’m always in amazement with his direction of American Horror Story.
Do you have advice for young women of color who want to become a director?
Do It! Also, diversify your craft. Meanings don’t just direct, but write and produce as well. Have your hands in it from start to finish. Also, study the greats and the others that have paved the way for us. Like Debbie Allen and Ava Duvernay.
What can we expect from Tracie Collins in 2016?
Well, Jan 9-16 my one-woman show Who Is Tracie Collins? will be in Oakland, [California]. I have so many projects in line, it’s really just about me choosing which one I’d like to do first. I’m always writing and creating. I’m looking forward to debuting my work in Atlanta 2016. I have 2 projects that will be pretty much ready to go the moment I touch ground.
With the resounding success of the launch of Tracie Collins Productions, her ability to draw from the many changes happening in Oakland, California, allows her to write, direct and produce entertainment that opens a forum for dialogue and self-awareness.