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Faculty Member Acknowledged for her Work on Daytime Emmy® Winning Netflix Program Share a Spelman College Press Release


Jazmyn Burton
Spelman College

ATLANTA (July 22, 2021)
Pioneering filmmaker and Spelman College Division Chair for the Arts, Ayoka Chenzira, Ph.D., is part of a team that earned a 2021 Daytime Emmy® Award in the Outstanding Young Adult Series category for their work on Trinkets, which airs on Netflix. 

In addition, Dr. Chenzira earned an 2021 Emmy® nomination in the Outstanding Directing Team for a Daytime Fiction Program category for her stellar direction of the young adult series. 

“Dr. Chenzira brings a wealth of talent and experience to the College, we are honored to have her lead our students through their creative process. Her expertise will leave an indelible mark on future filmmakers who earn a degree from Spelman,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman. “We celebrate both her nomination and her role in helping the series win an Emmy®.”

“Trinkets” follows a group of teenagers who form a deep bond after finding each other at a Shoplifters Anonymous meeting. The characters, who have different personalities and personas in school, keep their connection a secret. However, despite their differences - Elodie an introvert; Moe who favors punk and Tabitha, who was born into a wealthy family - form a deep bond after finding out that they all have a shoplifting habit.

Dr. Chenzira directed “Works in Progress,” and “Ocean’s 11th Grade,” which aired during the second season of the program in 2020. The program also earned a nomination for Outstanding Single Camera Editing. Film by Ayoka Chenzira in National Registry

One of the inaugural Diana King Endowed Professors in Film and Filmmaking, Television and Related Media, Dr. Chenzira is one of the first African American women to write, produce and direct a 35mm feature film, with her work, “Alma’s Rainbow.” Her films are currently being preserved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

In 2017, under the direction of Dr. Chenzira, Spelman became the first historically Black college or university to offer undergraduate degrees in documentary filmmaking and photography. The major is an outgrowth of the Digital Moving Image Salon, which was founded by Dr. Chenzira in 2003 to teach students to analyze films and use digital media tools to produce documentaries that focus on the lived experiences of women of color. 

Esteemed alumna Stacey Abrams was also nominated for a 2021 Emmy® in the Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance category. The voting rights champion and author played herself in the second part of a special election episode of the hit television show ABC’s "Black-ish”.


The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) is a service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational, and technical achievements within the television industry. It recognizes excellence in television with the coveted Emmy® Awards for News & Documentary, Sports, and Daytime television programming, as well as achievements in television Technology & Engineering. NATAS membership consists of more than 18,000 broadcast and media professionals represented in 19 regional chapters across the United States Beyond awards, NATAS provides extensive educational programs through its Foundation, including regional and national scholarships and Student Production Awards.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 54 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 19 for undergraduate teaching, No. 4 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 14th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and partnerships have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit Spelman College.




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