iOne Creative Class Logo w/o AT&T
B.B. Araya

Source: iOne Digita / B.B. Araya / Bonica Ayala

Name: B.B Araya
Occupation: Filmmaker
Location: Austin, TX
How We Know Her: Director of the short films Yirga and We Are
Why We Chose Her: B.B. Abaya’s work as a filmmaker shatters monolithic narratives associated with women of color.
What’s Next: She is penning her first feature film.
IG: @bbaraya_


Her Eritrean and Ethiopian roots are engrained in the fabric of her artistry.

That’s the story of B.B. Araya, a filmmaker whose short film Yirga examines the intersection between a woman’s African roots and cultural conformity in America.

Araya says the film was inspired by her own experiences growing up as the child of immigrant parents from East Africa.

“I wanted to create a film that portrayed the clash between ancestral identity and the identity that is formed as a result of growing up in the Western world,” saya Araya. “I wanted the film to explore what it means for your identity to be comprised of two very distinct things, how it might physically manifest and how that might make you feel.”

Her style as a filmmaker is authentic, vulnerable and multifaceted, which is evident in We Are, a short film that celebrates the honest depictions of women of color living in Austin, Texas.

We Are landed her a distribution deal with Issa Rae Productions, a testament to Araya’s ability to deliver authenticity on screen.

Araya believes there is power in filmmakers showcasing truth and diversity.

“I think it’s important to showcase truthful images,” says Araya. “When we do that, images become three-dimensional and we put the power in our hands to tell our own stories.”