Sisters are doing it for themselves; that was the point consistently driven home by the new documentary She Did That, which premiered at the 2018 Urbanworld Film Festival in late September. Helmed by PR veteran, successful blogger and first-time filmmaker Renae Bluitt, the documentary turns the lens on several members of the surging population of black female entrepreneurs making waves across industries.
Bluitt, who is well known for her popular blog, ‘In Her Shoes,’ has long been highlighting the successes of entrepreneurs such as herself. When The Glow Up caught up with her at Urbanworld, she told us that producing and directing She Did That was a natural next step in her journey as an innate storyteller.
“I’ve been telling the stories of black female entrepreneurs for going on 10 years,” she told us. “In 2015, I wanted to go deeper; I wanted to elevate those stories, and I needed to explore a different medium, and God literally planted a seed for me to do a film. This is my first film, but I have literally been telling our stories for almost a decade, and I’m a PR person—I’m a marketer—that’s also another form of telling stories. So, it’s an extension of what I’ve always been passionate about, [and] I got an awesome team on board that was equally committed to celebrating black women who are building brands, building legacies and overcoming obstacles.”
She Did That features black female visionaries like Lisa Price (Carol’s Daughter), Melissa Butler (The Lip Bar), money expert Tonya Rapley (My Fab Finance) and many more, speaking candidly on what it means to be a pioneer in your field, the implicit bias and outright racism they have encountered and the trouble with the still-existing “superwoman” complex. It’s a balance Bluitt worked hard to highlight.
“I just really want to amplify black women and celebrate us in a way that we’re not often celebrated,” she said. “It was important, in this film, for us to see how strong we are, but also, how soft we are, how vulnerable we are. You know, the moments when we have to ask for help and lean on each other, and our families, and our communities. Because I think the perception is that we’re like, superwomen—we’re like, superhuman. And we are. But we need our community, we need our families, we need our partners to support us in this journey.”
One of the major takeaways? That collaboration is the new competition, a theme that was prevalent behind the scenes as well. Bluitt credits not only her predominantly black, female team, but women of color at Essence, General Motors and the Perry Ellis-owned fashion line Rafaella for making She Did That financially possible, telling us:
“Just the making of this film alone was done with the support of other black women ... All of these women came together to tell these other women’s stories. It’s so important for us, as black women, to come together because we don’t have the resources that a lot of our counterparts have. And we’re so much more powerful together. We come together and get things done in a way that most people don’t even comprehend.
“How powerful are we when we pool our resources and make things happen? That’s a very important takeaway in the film: Yes, it’s great to have resources, have ideas and nurture them yourself, but you know, you can get much further with the help of your sister. ... Women of color for the win.”
As for debuting her film during the 22nd year of the esteemed Urbanworld Film Festival, which has helped launch the careers of directors George Tillman, Ava DuVernay and more, Bluitt recognized how rare the opportunity was, as a first-timer, to be featured among A-listers and established filmmakers.
“This has been humbling. It has been—I feel validated,” she said. “I feel like I could work on the next film, and the next film, because my work, and my team’s work is being celebrated in such a well-respected space for black storytellers.”
What’s next for She Did That? Screenings in Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, Atlanta and Oakland, which you can catch by following the film on Instagram, or via their website. As Bluitt told us, celebrating the ways in which black women are finding innovative new ways to pay themselves has simultaneously been paying it forward.
“It’s just really been a blessing to elevate black women entrepreneurs in this way,” she said. “And also, show young girls that it is possible—that with hard work, you can do what you love and make a living from it and build a legacy for our entire community to benefit from.”