Meet Tracey Bing, the producer behind Netflix's “Nappily Ever After.” In this Black History Month Alumni Identity Spotlight, Bing shares how a class she attended during her first year at Yale set her on a path to a career telling transformative stories through film.

This feature is part of a series focused on amplifying the voices of alumni who are making an impact today and illuminating how the identities we bring to Yale transform both our community and the world. 

What is your most enduring memory of your time at Yale?

I remember as a freshman taking Robert Farris Thompson’s class Mambo: The History of Black Transatlantic Creativity. One of the first classes he had all 300+ of us learning Capoeira in the middle of old campus. I thought this is fantastic. Where else could I be doing this?!

Proof of the PuddingAs a child I used to travel frequently to Haiti with my Mom. And that class deepened my love of Haitian Culture as well initiated a life long love of Africa and the African diaspora. I was a double major — history and history of art. Professor Thompson (known then as Master T) and Sylvia Arden Boone were my senior essay advisors. I wrote about The American Occupation of Haiti and also The Masquerades of the Dogon people in Mali. When I reached a career crossroads — I no longer wanted to work in banking — It was Professor Thompson who suggested I reach out to Jonathan Demme who was producing a documentary on Haiti. We ended up showing that documentary to President Bill Clinton in order to change policy specifically surrounding Guantanamo and the illegal detention of Haitian refugees. This experience led me to see the power of film to affect change and I was hooked.

How has your identity shaped your Yale experience?

I’ve always been someone who marched to the beat of my own drum. As an only child, my parents fostered my individuality. I grew up in Harlem in a beautiful old brownstone on Convent Avenue where I used to ride up and down in the old dumbwaiter. I recently found a photo from 1880 of that house in the middle of farmland next to Alexander Hamilton’s Grange, before we African Americans moved into the area.

Tracey Bing Graduation My Dad was one of 13 kids born to parents who were migrant workers in Florida, and my mother came to the US when she was 8 from Panama where her grandfather worked on the canal. Education was so important to both of my parents. They knew the power it had to change lives and had both received graduate degrees. My Dad worked for Health Education and Welfare for the Federal Government and my Mom was head of Corporate Development for the National Urban League, a Civil Rights Organization. I grew up in the halls of her office meeting luminaries such as Vernon Jordan, Shirley Chisholm, Ron Brown, Sidney Poitier, Kathleen Cleaver, and John Lewis. As a side hustle my Mom started a Gallery in the Lobby of the League’s building called Gallery 62 to show African American Artists’ work. She showed Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Emma Amos, James Van Der Zee, Faith Ringold, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks. It was here I first developed my love of art which would carry through my time at Yale and the rest of my life.

I attended a liberal multi-cultural school called Fieldston which was part of the Ethical Culture School system founded by Felix Adler in the 1800s. I chose the school because I liked the sandbox. In Lower School we studied various cultures. During those years, I understood implicitly the importance of narrative change within the framework of what we learned in school. I took that to heart at Yale, focusing my studies in history and history of art as it related to the African diaspora.

And now having worked in film for over two decades as a Studio executive at Paramount and Warner Bros and later as a Producer this work has become my life’s focus — to tell universal stories that represent the multi-cultural society we live in and that have the ability to change hearts and minds about diverse cultures and ultimately affect change and make what is considered mainstream more diverse. This led me to produce films such as Nappily Ever After, Southside with You and acquire films such as March of the Penguins.

What is your hope for the future of the Yale alumni community?

Bing ReunionThat we stay connected despite our differences. That we remain a diverse community. That we continue to learn from one another. That we help and mentor each other.

What advice would you give to fellow or future Yalies? 

See the world, and try everything at least once! Be open and receptive to new things. And yet stay true to who you are.


Tracey Bing is an independent producer with over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry including stints as a studio executive at Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros.

Most recently, together with Marc Platt, Bing produced the hit romantic comedy Nappily Ever After, starring Sanaa Lathan (MFA Yale University), financed and distributed by Netflix. Prior to that she executive produced the critically acclaimed film Southside With You, which tells the real-time, true-life story of the first ever date betweenBarack Obama and (the then) Michelle Robinson as well as the sci-fi thriller Prospect. Through her shingle Badabing Pictures, Bing is developing a variety of film and television projects including feature adaptations of the play Fabulation and the short 1745, as well as a remake of Argentinian comedy El Futbol O Yo and a variety of Nappily Ever After spinoffs. She is also attached to executive produce a screen adaptation of Alexbased on Pierre Lemaitre’s series of best-selling French crime novels.

From 2003-2006, Bing was VP, Production and Acquisitions at Warner Independent Pictures, where she helped launch the division and was instrumental in devising the strategy for the company. While at WIP, Bing was responsible for acquiring and reformatting March of the Penguins, which won the 2006 Oscar for Best Documentary. She also worked on many other WIP releases including: Good Night, And Good Luck, The Painted Veil (produced by and starring classmate Edward Norton), Paradise Now, andBefore Sunset.    

Over the years, Bing has served as a senior consultant to a number of entities including eOne Features, Warner Bros., Fox International, and PBS. She also has worked extensively in Africa creating 15 branded channels for Liberty Media/Wananchi Group’s Pan-African Pay TV network, working with the Kenyan Government to devise a comprehensive plan to grow the country’s film industry, and serving as Executive Director of Maisha Foundation which provides training for aspiring African filmmakers.

Bing got her start in the entertainment business as a development and production executive on films such as Flirting with Disaster, The Pallbearer,Gridlock’d (Tupac Shakur’s last film), and The Yards.

Bing has been a speaker, juror and guest panelist at the Cannes Film Festival Producers Network, Sundance Film Festival, American Film Institute, American Black Film Festival, Tribeca All Access, Film Independent, Kenya International Film Festival, Doha International Film Festival, and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, among others. She is an Adjunct Professor at USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program, and serves as a mentor for Sophia Chang’s Unlock Her Potential program for women of color.  

Bing is a graduate of Yale University and received her MBA from Harvard Business School.

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