You can call Brittany Fennell by her given name, her last name or by the moniker that has driven her to fame, “B. Monet.”
However, the award-winning writer and director from Silver Spring, Maryland, who holds degrees from Spelman and New York University, will go down in history as the first African American woman to direct a car commercial for Cadillac.
“I think it was like five different women who were selected [as finalists] to be the director and then I got a phone call and then it ended up being me and another person,” B. Monet told NNPA Newswire, explaining the history making process.
“I was selected and it’s still kind of mind-boggling to me that I’m the first black woman to do this,” she said.
“I’m really hoping — and I think we’ll definitely do more…” a joyous B. Monet said.
The 30-second spot, titled “Keep Rising Together,” debuted at this year’s American Black Film Festival, and the message – one that Cadillac hopes resonates – is intended to inspire.
“I think it’s a great message of rising above and moving forward and showing us we can be triumphant above all. I love that message,” B. Monet said.
In an interview with Rolling Out, B. Monet said that this has been a “super surreal” year for her. A year that’s included doing a short film with Queen Latifah that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and streamed on Hulu.
“Then to have this amazing experience to have other people who look like me, literally see a commercial and I’m the first Black woman to do it. It’s really hard to put into words. It’s just this surreal moment for me that’s so priceless,” B. Monet said.
As for the finished product in the Cadillac Keep Rising Together spot, B. Monet said told NNPA that she was absolutely thrilled with it and looks forward to other opportunities that the automaker might present.
“I think, you know, also dealing with cars for the first time, it was just like, wow, like, I think it was a ‘wow’ moment for me,” she said.
“Because it’s not to say that women can’t direct car commercials, or direct stop signs, or explosions, or all that, unfortunately, we didn’t get a seat at the table when it came to those things,” B. Monet said. “And we’re always in, like, the melodrama. And like, the super sappy things and stories. For me, I want to be able to do what the boys do. I want to do the car shows.
“So, I was very happy to see that in what we created and I thought, you know, it’s going to hopefully inspire more people to get out there and also pursue their dream, because there’s a lot to talk about.”
“I think this spot really shows people of color at the helm; women of color at the helm and people need to see that.”
B. Monet’s journey can be followed on all social media platforms @directherbmonet.