Name: Maya Banks
Occupation: Media executive
Location: Los Angeles
How We Know Her: Maya has spent much of her career curating content at outlets such as, OWN and Netflix, shaping some of our demo’s most premiere content.
Why We Chose Her: As a lead executive for Netflix’s Strong Black Lead, she’s spearheading much of our favorite content and helps drive diversity.
What’s Next: She’s focused on cooking up creative ways to expand Strong Black Lead’s reach.
Maya Watson Banks, director of brand and editorial for Netflix, oversees Strong Black Lead, the game-changing initiative that’s not a moment, but a movement dedicated to highlighting content for people of color. Maya had just come on board when SBL kicked off #FirstTimeISawMe, a social media campaign featuring celebs, actors and film buffs discussing the first time they saw themselves on the big or small screen.
Then came the must-watch “A Great Day in Hollywood” ad featuring 47 black creatives, Strong Black Legends podcast and YouTube interviews with stars of the most popular shows and hilarious memes. Banks is vocal in the press about the streaming services “unapologetically Black” stories and commitment to delivering entertainment that isn’t watered down. Before the mainstream can shed tears and show its fragility, Banks reminds folks that this effort isn’t exclusionary, but it is quite intentional because there are many, many ways to be Black.
Prior to doing it for the culture at everyone’s favorite streaming service, Maya worked as Field Director for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, CBS, ESPN and OWN. The Minneapolis native worked her way up from an intern at Auntie Oprah’s cable baby to Vice President of Marketing and Social Media. In fact, she was the youngest exec at Harpo and earned an Emmy for creative achievement in social TV experience. During her stint at OWN, the married mom of one created fully integrated campaigns for fan favorites like SuperSoul Sunday, Queen Sugar, Greenleaf and Tyler Perry’s The Haves and The Have Nots.