Sophia Cranshaw, a producer for Viacom’s MTV who was honored for her campaigns against social crises, including genocide and mental illness, died October 24 from breast cancer in New York City. She was 45.
An Emmy-winning director, writer, producer and documentarian, Cranshaw most recently served as vice president of on-air promos for MTV Networks, and helped launch mtvU, MTV’s college network. She wrote, co-directed and co-produced MTVU: Half Of Us, which focused on the prevalence and dangers of depression among college students, a project which earned a Peabody Award in 2007. The year before, she received the Governor’s Award Emmy for MTVU’s campaign for Darfur. Through her work, she collaborated with celebrities such as Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Vanessa Williams, Martha Stewart, Mary J. Blige, Mos Def, and Joel Schumacher.
Outside of her work at Viacom, Cranshaw independently directed and produced the 2016 documentary Hail No! which explored the intersection of racial discrimination and New York City yellow cab drivers.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Cranshaw grew up in East Texas. She received a Liberal Arts degree in Radio, Television and Film from the University of North Texas and went on to graduate from the Executive Leadership Development Program at the UCLA Anderson Business School.
Cranshaw is survived by her parents Nonah Louise and John A. Cranshaw, sister Pia Mitchell, aunt Ledelle Mitchell and her cousin Tanya Hughes.