- Worked as a marketer and publicist for 14 years, prior to becoming a filmmaker.
- Made her directorial debut with the 2008 hip hop documentary, This Is the Life.
- Is the founder of ARRAY, a distribution collective dedicated to the promotion of films by people of color and women filmmakers.
- Was the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her work in Selma.
- In 2015, Mattel created a Barbie Doll in her likeness, which sold out in 16 minutes.