May 30, 2024

Lights, Camera, Oakwood: Alumni Spotlight on Brittany Scott Smith ’02

Brittany Scott Smith ‘02 is an Emmy ® award-winning television director, producer, and writer. She has served as the supervising producer of “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” (Comedy Central) and as the co-executive producer of “The Rundown with Robin Thede” (BET). She has directed numerous television shows, including “A Black Lady Sketch Show” (HBO), the election special “Wilmore” (Peacock) plus “Helpsters” (Apple), “Hello Jack: The Kindness Show” (Apple), and the iconic children’s program, “Sesame Street” (Max). Reflecting on her experiences, Brittany credits Oakwood’s supportive and challenging learning environment for nurturing her creativity and drive. 

How did your time at Oakwood help to prepare or impact you for your current career, activities, friends, etc.?

Attending Oakwood was an incredible learning experience that provided valuable knowledge and empowered me to stand up for myself. I am truly grateful for Oakwood’s strong sense of community and how it has enabled me to build a powerful network.

Did you know what you wanted to study/focus on academically when you graduated from Oakwood? 

I was always interested in entertainment, and when I graduated from Oakwood, I wanted to focus on writing. I ended up attending Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, majoring in theater with a concentration in writing and directing.

Did you have a favorite class or teacher at Oakwood? 

I took a film history class at Oakwood and vividly remember watching Citizen Kane and The Lady Eve. That class significantly influenced the way I approach the study of film.

Oakwood Semi-Formal

What do you love most about what you’re doing now? 

I love having the opportunity to bring my own vision to life and I enjoy having significant creative control. Directing has allowed me to connect with this industry in a beautiful and unique way.

What advice do you have for young people who want to direct, create content, or go into the entertainment industry?

Keep creating content! And watch everything, so you know what you like and what you don’t like. Your taste is your highest currency!

Did you have any strong female mentors throughout your career?

I have had the privilege of being mentored by many amazing women throughout my career, including Rose Catherine Pinkney, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, and Lynn Latham, a former Oakwood parent who has been a constant source of encouragement.

What is a professional highlight of your career?

I have had so much fun making shows that have a message and inspire people. But the absolute highlight for me has been receiving three Children’s Emmy nominations and winning a Children’s Emmy for my work on Sesame Street. And now I’m writing a children’s book with my husband. 

Do you have a favorite moment or a fun memory to share from your time at Oakwood?

There are so many stories to share, but I’ll never forget when the gym first opened, and we had the Glove Affair there for the first time. It was an absolute blast, and I always looked forward to participating in that event!