NAACP-nominated writer/director/producer Rhonda Freeman-Baraka made her foray into film with the 2008 production of “Pastor Brown,” a family drama that has been touted as a classic and uplifting take on the prodigal son story. Directed by Rockmond Dunbar, “Pastor Brown” features an all-star cast, including Dunbar, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Nicole Ari Parker, Keith David, Ernie Hudson, Tasha Smith, Michael Beach, Tisha Campbell- Martin and Michael B. Jordan.
“Pastor Brown” won rave reviews and garnered wide viewership during its premiere on Lifetime TV in February 2013 and went on to garner six Black Reel nominations, including Outstanding Screenplay (Adapted or Original), TV Movie or Mini-series.
Ms. Freeman-Baraka followed up “Pastor Brown” with a series of releases for UP TV including “Trinity Goodheart” (Eric Benet, James Hong and Erica Gluck), “Saving Westbrook High” (Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Loretta Devine, GregAlan Williams), “My Dad’s A Soccer Mom” (Lester Speight, Wendy Raquel-Robinson, Skai Jackson), “Marry Me For Christmas,” “Marry Us For Christmas,” “A Baby For Christmas,” and “Merry Christmas, Baby” (all of which starred GregAlan Williams, Malinda Williams, Victoria Rowell and Brad James).
In 2014 Ms. Freeman-Baraka was tapped by TV One to craft an updated version of the Book of Job. The result was the heart-wrenching “To Hell And Back” (Ernie Hudson and Vanessa Bell Calloway). She followed up with the Book of Ruth adaptation “For the Love of Ruth” (Denise Boutte, Gary Dourdan, Loretta Devine and James Pickens Jr).
A series of TV One projects followed. Among them, the two-part holiday series, “Royal Family Holiday” and “Royal Family Christmas,” the top-rated unsung biopic “Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story,” the critically-acclaimed adaption of Reshonda Tate Billingsley’s “The Secret She Kept,” and the fantasy-laced “Christmas Swap.”
She has also penned two projects for the INSP network, “Heritage Falls,” which she co-wrote with Shea Sizemore and Gary Wheeler and “Christmas on the Coast.” Ms. Freeman-Baraka made her entry into episodic television with two episodes of Bounce TV’s “Saints and Sinners,” one of which was the highest rated episode in the history of the series. Her directing credits include UP TV’s “A Baby for Christmas” and “Merry Christmas Baby,” and TV One’s “Downsized,” starring Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe.
Her most recent project was the controversial and critically-acclaimed “Bobbi Kristina” biopic, based on the life of Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of music icons Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown.
This year’s productions include “Coins for Christmas” and the hit docuseries “Uncensored” (both for TV One), the fifth installment in UP TV’s popular Chandler family Christmas franchise (which she wrote and directed) and Lifetime’s “Edge of Faith,” a joint development venture with actress/director/producer Kim Fields.