Inspiring. Ferocious. Provocative. Many words aim to encapsulate the maverick known as Melina Matsoukas, but her robust rebel sensibility is not easily contained. The New York native and Grammy Award-winning director has made an indelible impact on the music video and commercial world over the past decade with her audacious aesthetic; her artful imaginings fueled by a unique visual perspective. Such creative prowess earned Melina the highly acclaimed honor of being named one of Advertising Age’s 2016 “Creativity 50,” a recognition given only to the year’s most influential innovators.
Melina works – often repeatedly – with some of the biggest names in the music industry including Beyoncé, Jay Z, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Snoop Dogg, Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, Solange and Pharrell. In 2011, Melina lent her talents as Creative Director on Beyoncé’s album 4, overseeing all creative elements of the project including tour aesthetics, music videos, album packaging, editorials, advertising and even a perfume launch. Before long, the clamor for Melina’s signature visual style expanded to globally recognized brands in which she lent her unique directing talents to campaigns for commercial clients such as Nike, Stella McCartney, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Diesel, Lexus, Target and Absolut among others.
With a trajectory powered by her prolific body of work, it was only a matter of time for the director to make her foray into the narrative space. In her debut role as Executive Producer/Director, Melina recently directed the HBO series Insecure: her first scripted television show, created by and starring Issa Rae. With a unique, first-hand perspective on how to craft specific, culturally rich visuals that still resonate with a broad audience, Melina’s mission with Insecure was to give a voice to stories often left unheard. She has used her high-profile platform as an opportunity to offer a window into relevant sociocultural experiences, and finds value in working with people of color while also telling their stories through her art.
Melina’s work has captivated audiences worldwide with over a billion cumulative views on YouTube, and the accolades have followed. She was the first solo female director to win MTV’s Best Video Award for Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” earning her a Grammy for Best Long Form Music Video. Melina was also the first director to win a Grand Prix at the Inaugural Cannes Lions for Entertainment Music Awards for her video for Beyoncé’s “Formation,” which features a black power message and Katrina-inspired visuals. The music video went on to sweep the VMAs by winning in all six categories for which it was nominated, including Video of the Year. It also took home a 2016 Gold CLIO Music award.
Melina is an alumnus of New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, with graduate studies completed at the American Film Institute. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Cinematography.