Toni Ann Johnson won the Humanitas Prize in 1998 for her screenplay “Ruby Bridges,” an ABC movie and true story of the young girl who integrated the New Orleans Public School system. She also won a Christopher Award for her script. In 2004 Johnson won a second Humanitas prize for her screenplay “Crown Heights,” (Showtime) also a true story, that examined the relationship between a Hasidic Jewish teen and an African-American teen who came together to form a hip hop group in the wake of the 1991 Crown Heights Riots. Johnson wrote the Lifetime movie “The Courage to Love,” starring Vanessa L. Williams, based on the life of Henriette Delille, a free woman of color in mid-19th Century New Orleans, who became one of the first nuns of African descent. She also wrote the Fox Television pilot “Save The Last Dance,” based on the hit feature film, on which she was a participating writer. Johnson also co-wrote the 2008 dance movie hit “Step Up 2: The Streets.”
Johnson’s stage play “Gramercy Park is Closed to the Public,” was produced by the Fountainhead Theater Company in Los Angeles where she played the lead role of Luna. The play subsequently received a main-stage production by The New York Stage and Film Company and starred Nicole Ari Parker, David Warshofsky and Eddie Cahill. She co-wrote the play, “Here In My Father’s House” along with Leslie Lee, Ellen Cheghorne, Cheryl Lane, Zelda Patterson and Jewel Brimage. It was directed by Douglass Turner Ward, produced Off Broadway by the Negro Ensemble Company and starred, James Pickens Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson.
In 2013 Johnson began publishing short stories based on her experience growing up as a person of color in Monroe, New York, which at the time was a conservative town, with few people of color. These stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Emerson Review, Sprout Magazine, Elohi Gadugi Journal and Soundings Review. A debut novel, Remedy For a Broken Angel, about the sexual competition between a mother and daughter in a family of jazz musicians is forthcoming from Nortia Press, June 2014.