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Storytellers come in many forms. Sometimes they’re novelists, sometimes the screenwriters, and sometimes they’re Rasheed Newson–who gets to be both!
— Rasheed Newson (@RasheedNewson) April 30, 2022
Many of the shows you’ve loved have at one point been influenced by Newson’s pen. The Chi, Narcos, and Bel-Air, the reimagining of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, are just a few of them.
Aside from writing episodes of riveting television, he’s busy producing these works as well. And while Newson has experienced much success throughout his career, having to navigate the entertainment industry as a Black queer man is far from easy. Newson just makes it look that way.
After a career stint in non-profit communications work, the native of Indiana left behind Washington D.C., where he attended Georgetown University, and traveled to the land of television opportunities, Los Angeles, in 2002 with hopes of making it big in “La La Land”.
So #BelAir fam, we’ve reached that point where we get dressed up and pose for pictures as we court critics and the press, sharing with them all the hard work that went into producing the show. @cassiefreestyle @JabariBanx @cooperfilms pic.twitter.com/7yirL5W7aT
— Rasheed Newson (@RasheedNewson) April 11, 2022
Many years were spent navigating different media jobs, networking, and cultivating his craft. And when he serendipitously met his writing partner, T.J. Brady, in a writer’s workshop, his career path changed forever. Soon after, the two were added to the staff writing team for the Fox drama Lie to Me.
From there, Newson and Brady cemented themselves as a writing duo on some of the most popular shows on television. And Newson’s latest endeavor, Bel-Air, is a culmination of all of those years of hard work.
Developed from the mock trailer that fellow writer and producer Morgan Cooper created, Bel-Air retells the story of the fresh prince through a dramatic lens. Bringing together an all Black cast, adding in queer themes (we see you Ashley Banks!), and touching on poignant topics within Black families, you can clearly tell that Bel-Air is a labor of love. One that Newson is extremely proud of.
I mean, I, too, would be proud of being a part of the most watched series on Peacock.
— Rasheed Newson (@RasheedNewson) May 2, 2022
But why stop at screenwriting? Newson hasn’t and probably won’t, now that he has his debut novel coming out this August. My Government Means to Kill Me is a coming-of-age story of a young, Black, gay man experiencing a personal and political awakening in 1980s New York City. No stranger to the power of narrative, Newson’s upcoming book is sure to leave an impact on all of its readers when it comes out later this summer.
It means the world to me that my novel, “My Government Means to Kill Me,” has the support of the talented Mr. @MatthewACherry. He gave us #HairLove, and he directed a stellar episode of #BelAir. pic.twitter.com/Ql1jmZSSpV
— Rasheed Newson (@RasheedNewson) June 18, 2022
— Rasheed Newson (@RasheedNewson) April 5, 2022
And while Newson puts in his hours on set, after long days, he leaves Hollywood behind for quality time with his husband and two children in Pasadena. The multi-talented creative brushes shoulders with Hollywood’s elite, balances family life, and makes it look easy.
Now more than ever, Black queer voices and perspectives are needed and Rasheed Newson’s presence in the entertainment industry is a must. Newson gives hope to Black queer creatives all over the world and with a career that continues to skyrocket, he’ll be inspiring more generations of Black queer creatives to come.