Mariama Diallo: A 28-year-Old Senegalese American rising Star in American Cinema.

Mariama Diallo is a Senegalese American filmmaker based in Brooklyn. A talented actress and director, who is popular for her work as a director in movies like “Hair Wolf ” and “Random Act of Flyness“, a Terence Nance’s HBO show. She co-wrote “Everybody Dies!” as part of the feature Collective: Unconscious (2016). Her short “Sketch” won the Fox Inclusion Emerging Artist Award at the 2017 Black Star Film Festival. In 2018, her short, “Hair Wolf” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Short Film Jury Award: US Fiction.

Mariama Diallo was born on 09/ 20/1993 in Roosevelt Island (New York City). However, she has not spoken about her family in the media. So, information like the names, professions of her parents, and what part of Senegal they come from, or even if she is a first-generation American, is unknown to us. Her last name Diallo, however, indicates she is of Fulani origin.

As a child, Diallo was obsessed with the Goosebumps, a series of children’s horror fiction novels by American author R. L. Stine, published by Scholastic Publishing. The stories follow child characters, who find themselves in scary situations, usually involving monsters and other supernatural elements. When her mother gave her a book with a horrifying cover (Wanted Dead or Alive: The True Story of Harriet Tubman) she placed it on the back of her bookshelf, that’s when her love for horror first came to perfection. Diallo was 14 when she first envisioned her film career while in a New York Blockbuster Video store. With no experience, Diallo was accepted into Yale as a film studies major and realized her passion to write along with directing. Some of the genres that shaped her style are horror and sci-fi.

Her short film Hair Wolf is a take on cultural appropriation and gentrification that highlights a group of African American women working in a salon and trying to survive from a group of white women who were trying to take their culture. “Hair Wolf” speaks to how white social media influencers and other white celebrities have been stealing African American Culture and have sold it off as their own. Diallo was also part of the writers’ room for the variety show Random Acts of Flyness, even directing four episodes. 

Master” a horror film written and directed by Diallo is her first feature film. Starring Regina Hall who is also executive producing. The film focuses on two African American women at a predominantly white college, Gail Bishop, the first woman of color to be named head of students, commonly referred to as “master” of a residence hall at the fictional Ancaster College in Massachusetts, performed by Regina Hall, Zoe Renee as incoming freshman Jasmine Moore. Along with racial discrimination and bigotry, they experience in their daily life, the women discover also that some supernatural powers are operative there: The college is cursed by the spirit of a black woman who was lynched there hundreds of years ago, who is now after Jasmine. 

The number of African actors in Hollywood has been rising in recent years. African actors and actresses have appeared in numerous blockbuster movies. They have also been recognized in global film awards for their outstanding performances. Names like Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Peter Mensah, Charlize Theron, and Djimon Hounsou, are household names in Hollywood. Nonetheless, Mariama Diallo may be the only person of Fulani origin involved with the American movie industry at this level at the moment. We wish her continued success.

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