Via her full-service talent agency that represents a curated list of actors, producers, writers, directors, and corporate clients, she’s sealed worked with and sealed deals for the likes of Tisha Campbell, Jeremy Piven, Mona Scott Young, Octavia Spencer, Amiyah Scott and more.
Additionally, as a Black woman working in the industry, Tracy’s seen Black filmmakers, producers, and actors create their own tables instead of begging the business for acceptance.
Below BOSSIP asks this A-lister aficionado for her take on tonight’s ceremony as well as her thoughts on being a successful #BlackGirkMagic maker in the entertainment business.
Tell us about your background as a talent agent, how did you get your start? We heard the legendary John Singleton played a part in it.
I was friends with John Singleton and a writer named Joseph Dougherty. I asked them what they thought I should do for a living and what I would be good at. They said I should be a madam or an agent. I don’t look good in stripes, so I chose agenting.
What is it like being a Black female talent agent in a traditionally white male space and who have you represented?
It’s interesting. I come from a generation that is accustomed to integrating spaces that should have already been filled with women and people of color. Whether it was in a class, a neighborhood, or a career setting, in this country the color line and sexism are still very active. But as a person of color, my parents trained and prepared me for this battle. Frankly, the challenge is about not investing and believing the limiting stereotypes and mythology that is prevalent in our culture. You have to not only do the work but understand that you are capable of the work and also do the work of not just holding the door open for the next generation but taking the door of the damn hinges.
That’s why it’s so rewarding representing people like Mona Scott-Young, Roger Guenveur Smith, and Jeremy Piven. They aren’t just spouting politics. They consciously chose to put their career in the hands of a Black woman. It doesn’t mean I get a free ride because I’m Black or female, but it gives me an immediate seat at the table and forces my industry to confront their prejudice head-on.
In terms of who I represented, I’ve been in this industry for twenty-five years, so the list includes everyone from Oscar winner Octavia Spencer (The Help), Emmy and Golden Globe winner Elizabeth Moss (Madmen and The Handmaids Tale), Oscar winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter), and Emmy winner Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O.J. Simpson).
We previously did a story on McKinsey & Co.’s findings that Hollywood’s shortcomings in representing Black voices on and off camera cost the film and television industry $10 billion in annual revenue, what are your thoughts on diversity (or the lack thereof) in Hollywood?
Every article you read about diversity in Hollywood talks about where we need to improve. For me, I’m less concerned about a quota system than a fundamental change in human beings who don’t feel the need to exclude another group or human because they love or look differently than themselves. I look at the success of people like Charles King, Datari Turner, Mona Scott-Young, Tressa Azarel Smallwood, Tisha Campbell, Oprah Winfrey, and of course Tyler Perry and it’s clear that things are changing, and that’s just in the Black community. I’m thrilled and anxious to see doors open for Latinos and Asians, for everyone in this marketplace. When we are more inclusive we have a richer and more lucrative marketplace. American films are distributed all over the world. Our culture is distributed worldwide. I love how this new generation is demanding that every community have a viable voice in Hollywood.
Throughout your time in the business, have you seen cases of Hollywood becoming more accepting of Black talent?
To ask for acceptance is demeaning. Black people are not second-class humans or citizens. We contributed to the growth of this country as much as any other demographic so I’m NEVER going to ask to be accepted or for acceptance. We’re taking ownership of our place at the table. I look at when Hollywood says Black film doesn’t sell internationally, I look at Will Smith, Vin Diesel, Jamie Foxx laughing in the face of that statement not asking for permission or acceptance, simply striking out on their own and getting it done. We learned that from our ancestors.
Tell us more about TCA. Who does TCA currently represent?
I’ve had the privilege of working at respected boutique, mid-size, and a large agency so when I formed TCA, I consciously thought about what worked and what didn’t at those structures and poured that into TCA. For me, it’s never been about representing dozens of actors, writers, producers. Truthfully, I’m a snob. It’s always been about representing extraordinary talent. I expect every client to be the Michael Jordan of their field. The same is true of the agents and staff we hire. Whatever I do I believe in operating in excellence and my crew feels the same way. In an industry that often fails to afford people of color the same level of representation as their white counterpart, I’m happy to say we have multiple Black clients who are number one on the call sheet, who are executive producing scripted and unscripted programming, who run their own production companies, and incredibly we do this on a global basis. I didn’t form TCA with a special interest in diverse communities but as a Black woman, I make sure that they have access.
As someone connected and well versed in Hollywood, what are your 2021 Oscar predictions? A number of people think Daniel Kaluuya’s a shoo-in for Best Supporting Actor for Judas & The Black Messiah.
I almost never participate in Oscar polls because my taste is very eclectic and often I have a personal relationship with a nominee so I’m always voting for my friends. So my list of support of friends includes Mulan, The United States vs. Billie Holiday, News of the World, One Night in Miami, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Da 5 Bloods, Sound of Metal, Mank, Judas and the Black Messiah, and Minari – see the problem?
For more on Tracy and TCA MGMT click HERE.