Makayla Jennings ’22, a producer with WDBJ7 in Roanoke, won a 2022 Emmy from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for her documentary tracing the history of Black cowboys.

Her film, The Tall Black Stranger: Revealing the Truth of the American Cowboy, won the nonfiction long form documentary category. The roots of the documentary lie with Jennings’ late grandfather, who loved cowboy films and passed on that affection to his children and grandchildren. As Jennings investigated the topic, she found something unexpected: The original cowboys were Black—not white.

During production, her travels took her from Houston to film at the Black Cowboy Museum to Maryland for an interview with a member of the group Cowgirls of Color. Her Longwood degree is in communication studies.

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