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projects & press.

Deborah Riley Draper to direct James Brown doc-series

4-part A&E Network doc-series to be produced by Mick Jagger and Questlove and directed by Deborah Riley Draper


2022 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Breakthrough Creative - Television Nominee - Deborah Riley Draper (Director and Producer). "The Legacy of Black Wall Street", OWN

Official Trailer - "The Legacy of Black Wall Street" Two-Part Special on OWN directed and produced by Deborah Riley Draper.

Vice President Kamala Harris is saluting her Alpha Kappa Alpha sisters in a new documentary film titled “Twenty Pearls: The Story of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.” Variety Magazine

Deborah sits down with CBS Saturday co-host Michelle Miller to discuss OLYMPIC PRIDE AMERICAN PREJUDICE, the new Simon & Schuster released book inspired by the film she directed.

New book from Simon & Schuster available now.
Essence Magazine film coverage

Essence Magazine announces the Deborah Riley Draper-helmed film project "Coffee Will Make You Black"


Watch Now: 2017 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Documentary Film Nominee follows 18 African Americans who defied Hitler and Jim Crow at the 1936 Olympics.

Versailles '73 documentary

Watch Now: Versailles '73: American Runway Revolution, the first documentary about the epic 1973 fashion showdown between the French and American designers.

TEDx GA Tech Talk

Deborah Riley Draper delivers "ROH - Return on the Hustle" at the 2018 TEDx GA Tech Talk.

2018 Cannes Film Fest. UK Film Panel

UK Film "How to Budget the Inclusion Rider" panel at Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival 2017

8th Annual International Film Finance Forum during 2017 Festival de Cannes

Variety Magazine 2016 Documakers

Variety Magazine 2016 Top 10 Documakers to Watch

Traverse City Film Fest Directors

The Directors of the Official US Selection at Traverse City Film Festival

IU Cinema Guest Lecturer

IU Cinema 2016 Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series featured Deborah Riley Draper: Untold African American Stories



Deborah Riley Draper is a writer, director and award-winning filmmaker.  Deborah is currently directing the A&E docu-series JAMES BROWN: SAY IT LOUD, produced by Academy Award winner Ahmir Thompson and Mick Jagger. In 2021, Deborah wrote and directed two projects about seminal moments in history. Her docu-series, The Legacy of Black Wall Street on OWN/Discovery+, told the story of the pioneering community of Greenwood, airing 100 years to the day of the brutal massacre. This project earned Deborah a 2022 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Breakthrough Creative -Television, her 3rd nomination. Deborah's Twenty Pearls, the first original documentary to be acquired by Comcast's Black Experience Channel, features Vice-President Kamala Harris and chronicles the rarely recognized history of America's first black sorority.


The Ad Council recognized Deborah as a 2021 Champion for Good. Deborah brought her creative lens to their vital COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative. Deborah wrote and directed two campaigns highlighting stories from descendants of the U.S. Public Health Services Syphilis Study at Tuskegee and families from rural communities around the U.S.


Deborah co-wrote "Force of Beauty," an audible memoir about three Black matriarchs in Newark released in February 2021. Draper will direct her screen adaptation of the classic coming-of-age novel Coffee Will Make You Black.

Draper is a 2016 Film Independent Lab Fellow and Variety Magazine's "2016 Top 10 Documakers to Watch." Her documentary, Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, the untold story of 18 African Americans who defied Hitler and Jim Crow at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, was one of only three nominees for the 2017 Peace and Sport Award in Monaco, presented by HRH Prince Albert.  Draper's debut film, Versailles '73: American Runway Revolution, opened New York Fashion Week and Toronto Fashion Week and premiered on Logo TV in 2015. MOMA, SCAD, Guggenheim Bilboa, and the de Young Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco have integrated the film with their major fashion exhibitions. 

Draper's leadership in advertising shines in campaigns for Lamborghini, Coca-Cola classic, FedEx, and adidas. She earned two regional Emmys, a Gold Effie, and several Addy Awards.



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