Michaela Ewuraba Boakye-Collinson is an actress, screenwriter, director, producer, and singer from East London.

Michaela Coel Peabody Awards, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

She expressed how she felt isolated as the only Black student in her age group because she was of Ghanaian descent and went to various catholic schools. Coel proceeded to go to the University of Birmingham to study English Literature and Theology. She transferred to Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2009, becoming the first black woman to enrol in the school in five years. Coel then started to deliver poetry at open mics, which quickly shifted to well-known venues such as Wembley Arena and the Bush Theatre under the name ‘Michaela the Poet.’ Coel wrote and starred in a new sitcom called Chewing Gum, which was inspired by her play Chewing Gum Dreams (her senior graduation project at Guildhall) in August 2014. In 2016, she won the British Academy Television Award for Best Female Comedy Performance for her performance. For scripting the programme, she received a BAFTA for Breakthrough Talent. Michaela has also starred in productions such as Top Boy, Black Mirror, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Since then, Coel continues to achieve a number of additional accolades, including the 2021 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special, making her the first Black woman to do so.


I think if you can stand there and say that you don’t think racism exists, you are a very traumatised person, and your trauma has made you blind to what is going on right in front of you.” – Michaela Coel