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Hanelle Culpepper ’92 wins NAACP Image Award

Portrait of director Hanelle Culpepper
April 01, 2021
Linda Blaser

Hanelle Culpepper ’92 won a 2021 NAACP Image Award for her directorial work on the debut episode of Star Trek: Picard at the 52nd annual ceremony on March 27.

Culpepper made history in 2019 when it was announced she would be the first woman of color to launch a new Star Trek series. Winning the coveted NAACP Image Award for her work confirms Culpepper’s standing as one of the top directors in the industry.

In all, Culpepper directed the first three installments in the Picard series: the award-winning “Remembrance” episode, “Maps and Legends,” and “The End is the Beginning,” which aired on CBS All Access.

Other nominees in the Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series category were: Cheryl Dunye (“Strange Case”) and Misha Green (“Jig-a-Bobo”), HBO‘s Lovecraft Country; Nzingha Stewart (“The Uncanny”), Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere; and Steve McQueen (“Mangrove”), Amazon Studios’ Small Axe.  

In addition to her work on the Picard series, Culpepper has directed a number of successful drama and genre shows, such as Supergirl and Gotham.

Directing is a skill Culpepper practiced in the theater department at Lake Forest College, where the economics and French double major participated in several plays during her time on campus.

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