Haitian-born writer Mike Gauyo, also known as "Black Boy Writes," is breaking barriers in the television arena. His love of writing began as a hobby at a young age. It wasn't until he went to college to become a doctor that he knew the medical field wasn't for him. Taking time to perfect his craft in writing, opportunities arrived, giving the trailblazer a chance to work as a production assistant on the film The Equalizer and reality TV's American Idol.
Moving to Los Angeles, California was an exciting jump in Mike's career. After taking on a part-time job working at a local gym, within 6 months, he crossed paths with filmmaker Issa Rae.
Rae put together a creative mixer back in 2015 for creatives to attend. The requirements for entry was for candidates to submit a sample of their writing. Gauyo's work was chosen and from there, his fairy tale dream would come true. "I met Issa for all of two minutes, but I made her laugh within those two minutes. I said, 'She's going to remember me,'" the tickled writer mentioned.
The two were able to stay in contact as they continued to cross paths. Issa gave Gauyo his first writing opportunity on a scripted podcast she created, called Fruit, where he wrote for two seasons. This allowed him to build a network with other writers.
"Meeting Issa Rae was a story of perseverance, following up, being persistent and all of the characteristics and attributes you need to be a successful writer."
Without knowing what was in store down the road, Issa reached back out to Mike offering him a position as staff writer on HBO's Insecure for Season 4. Unfortunately, he was unable to accept the position due to timing. As devastating as it may sound, Gauyo was offered another position. He landed his first staff writer job for Season 1 of Netflix's hottest television drama, Ginny and Georgia. Gauyo expressed, "The show resonated with the demographic of teens to senior citizens. It was at an equal level. Talking about the biracial Black experience and the biracial Asian experience, and even speaking about single parents and raising their children."
Mike took a lot of pride in making it known that many of the writers and executives of the show were first-timers. "A lot of times the industry doesn't take a chance on you because you're new and because they don't want to take the risk. I think that Ginny and Georgia is proof that more networks, more executives need to take the risk because it was a room full of people doing this for the first time," he happily mentioned.
Continuing to pave the way for people of color in the industry, Gauyo launched a partnership with Culture Creative where he birthed his mentorship program that focuses on providing support and resources to preWGA Black writers. The program is aptly titled the Black Boy Writes/Black Girl Writes Mentorship Initiative. "I felt as though there were a lot of preWGA writers who weren't being seen, who had the talent but didn't have the access. I've spent years building a roll of industry contacts and people I've built genuine relationships with who I can pick up and call."
"If I can do that for another writer who possesses the talent and just doesn't have the access to the contacts they need, I will help them."
Currently, Gauyo is in the writers' room of Netflix's Ginny and Georgia, as the show was renewed for another season after the first season was watched by 52 million subscribers. Additionally, his opportunity with Issa came back full circle as Rae offered him a position as staff writer for the fifth and final season of Insecure. Mike happily accepted.
The writer urges anyone who has a dream to push for it and never give up. Timing is everything.
Featured image via Mike Gauyo/Instagram