51 years ago today, on September 22, 1970, filmmaker Hanelle M. Culpepper was born. Originally from Alabama, Culpepper grew up wanting to be an actress, until her parents reminded her that she was still directing her siblings in plays she herself wrote. Then, during her senior year of high school, she directed the play If the men played cards like the women do by George S. Kaufman and her path as a director was mapped out.
Culpepper graduated from Lake Forest College, where she majored in Economics and French, after which she enrolled at the University of Southern California, where she earned a Masters in Communication. She has directed several of the hottest shows on television, including Parenthood, Criminal minds, Flash, american gothic and How to get away with a murder. She is currently the co-executive producer of the rebooted series Kung Fu, for which she also directed the pilot.
Culpepper made history by becoming the first female director and the first African-American director to launch a new Star Trek series, making the first three episodes of Star Trek: Picard, “Remembrance” (for which she received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Achievement in a Drama Series.) “Maps and Legends” and “The End Is the Beginning”. She had previously directed Star Trek: Discoverythe season one episode of “Vaulting Ambition” and two of its season two episodes, “The Red Angel” and “Forget Me Not”.
Please join us in wishing Hanelle Culpepper a very happy 51st birthday.