Competition is inherent in all of Gina Prince-Bythewood's work, from Love & Basketball to Disappearing Acts to her most recent film as writer/director, Beyond the Lights. That comes from playing sports all her life, something that Prince Bythewood says 'gave her a sense of self,' growing up biracial with white adoptive parents and no one who looked like her. Beyond the Lights is a different story about a young biracial woman named Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who is pushed to the brink of stardom in order to make a better life for her and her controlling mother. Prince-Bythewood also talks about the power dynamics in relationships in her films, particularly of women having more power than men. "I never grew up thinking I was less than as a woman, so for me I love putting that into my female characters."
Photo: Suzanne Tenner