EXCLUSIVE: Tasha Smith has been tapped to direct the pilot and second episode of Fox’s drama series Our Kind Of People, from writer/executive producer Karin Gist, executive producer Lee Daniels, 20th Television and Fox Entertainment.
The project reunites Smith with Fox, Empire and Star co-creator Daniels, Star executive producer Gist and 20th TV. Smith had a major recurring role on Fox/20th TV’s Empire and directed two episode of the network and studio’s Star in addition to reprising her Empire character in a guest-starring stint.
Written by Gist inspired by Lawrence Otis Graham’s provocative, critically praised book Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class, the drama, which received a straight-to-series order for the 3031-22 season, takes place in the aspirational world of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, a historical stronghold where the rich and powerful black elite have come to play for more than 50 years. Our Kind of People follows strong-willed, single mom Angela Vaughn as she sets out to reclaim her family’s name and make an impact with her revolutionary haircare line that highlights the innate, natural beauty of black women. But she soon discovers a dark secret about her mother’s past that will turn her world upside-down and shake up this community forever.
“Magic is something you create, and showrunner Karin Gist has given new life to the special story that is Our Kind of People,” said Smith. “I am honored and thrilled to bring her work to life alongside executive producer Lee Daniels, who is a wonderful producer and mentor to me.”
Smith, who has had major roles in Empire, Power, Why Did I Get Married? and For Better or Worse, has served as director on series including Starz’s P-Valley, ABC’s Big Sky, Fox’s Star and 9-1-1 and CW’s Black Lightning. Smith is next set to direct the pilot and multiple episodes of the upcoming Starz series Black Mafia Family, where also serves as an executive producer.
As an acting coach, through her TSAW Actor’s Workshop, Smith has worked with actors and artists including Mary J. Blige, for her Oscar-nominated performance in Mudbound, and most recently with Andra Day on her Golden Globe winning and Oscar-nominated performance as Billie Holiday in Hulu’s The United States Vs Billie Holiday. Smith is repped by Marsh Entertainment, Verve Talent & Literary Agency, and attorney Darrell Miller at Fox Rothschild.