Raven Goodwin Tapped To Play Actress Hattie McDaniel, The First Black Woman To Win An Oscar


January 12, 2021

Finally telling her story! 

Raven Goodwin has been tapped to play actress Hattie McDaniel, the first Black woman to win an Oscar, in a new biopic, Deadline reports.


Behind the Smile is a new indie film chronicling the life of Hattie McDaniel. The legendary actress was known for her role as Mammy in the 1939 film Gone With the Wind, which earned her an award for Best Supporting Actress, making history as the first Black woman to win an Oscar. Raven Goodwin, of BET’s Being Mary Jane and Lifetime’s The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel, is set to play McDaniel in the new film.

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A post shared by Raven Goodwin (@ravengoodwin)


Jami McCoy-Lankford of Hillionaire Productions and Global Genesis Group is producing the film with Gregory Blair writing the screenplay. The biopic explores McDaniel’s career as she battled racism, racial segregation, and her ostracization from the Black community and NAACP due to the stereotypical roles she was cast in. Nonetheless, McDaniel persevered, leaving behind a lasting legacy and paving the way for so many in Hollywood. The legendary actress passed away in 1952 at age 57 of breast cancer.

“It’s exciting to be involved in telling the story of a woman who is a part of American history as well as movie history. Now, more than ever, in a still divisive time in our country’s relationships with race, the story of Hattie McDaniel is meaningful and current. Individuals such as Hattie McDaniel were trailblazers in their struggle for equality, and their stories need to be told for our country’s understanding of inclusiveness and tolerance. We are thrilled to have Raven Goodwin play Hattie McDaniel and provide an honest look into the triumphs and tragedies of her life,” Rick Romano, President of Global Genesis Group, told Deadline

“Raven Goodwin is such a phenomenal talent and a gift to this project. In our first meeting on Zoom, she already showed the kind of passion that is befitting such a complex and iconic character as Hattie McDaniel was,” McCoy-Lankford said. 


Goodwin spoke of how honored she is to portray the actress, giving McDaniel and her extraordinary legacy all the credit.

“Hattie, you did it. Because of your legacy, we are able to write and portray OURSELVES in whatever light we choose. I am forever honored. I look forward to bringing this important historical and relevant life story to the screen,” Goodwin said. 

No word yet on when Behind the Smile will air, but we’re excited!


Congratulations, Raven!

Photo Courtesy of Everett/Deadline

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