Her Work Fights Against A System That Diminishes Our Genius And Talent

ruth carter standing up smiling
Tremain Prioleau II
March 15, 2023

For the last 30-years of her career, two-time Oscar winner Ruth Carter has made it her mission to not only mentor, but create tangible opportunities for Black women in the field of costume design.

Carter designed the pilot for In Living Color but didn’t commit to the whole series. Instead, she referred her friend Michelle Cole to take over costume design for the now classic series. This catapulted Cole’s career, designing for shows including Martin, Moesha, The Bernie Mac Show, and Black-ish along with four Emmy nominations.

Marci Rodgers was at the right place at the right time. Rodgers was a production assistant under Ruth Carter for Spike Lee’s Chi-raq (2015). Her work impressed him so much she went on to design for Lee’s BlacKKKlansman and 2022’s Till.

Derica Cole Washington first met Ruth Carter through Pinterest DMs. Carter invited Washington to assist her on Spike Lee’s movie Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014). Washington was nominated for a Costume Designers Guild Award for the film ZOLA in 2022.

Ruth Carter reminds us not to settle for achieving in this anti-Black system. It’s our duty to bring others along with us and honor the ones before us who paved the way for our success.

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