Nnegest Likké

Nnegest Likké is an American film director, screenwriter and producer. Her film awards include, Best Diaspora Film at the 2016 African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) for " Ben and Ara " which she directed. Her 2019 international romantic drama, Everything But A Man won the Audience Choice Award at the Pan African Film Festival. Nnegest is one of the first women of color to write and direct a movie distributed by a major Hollywood studio. Her directing credits include Fox Searchlight's romantic-comedy Phat Girlz, the multi award-winning indie love drama Ben and Ara, and Everything But A Man.

Early life and Education

Nnegest Likké was born in Oakland, California. She is half African-American and half Ethiopian and grew up in the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Area.

During her childhood, Likké had the opportunity of traveling around the world, including throughout Europe and Africa with her mother who Likké referred to as an active globetrotter and Civil Rights Activist. This traveling exposed her to various ways of life besides those known in America.

Likké attended Skyline High School in Oakland. After graduating, she attended Clark Atlanta University (CAU), where she studied film and graduated with a BA in Mass Communications.


After college, Likké moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting. While honing her craft, Likké taught Drama, History and English at a high school in Los Angeles. Today, she still mentors at-risk youth.


Phat Girlz (2006) was Likké's first feature film, starring Academy Award Winner Mo’Nique. This film is a romantic-comedy about two plus-size women who meet the men of their dreams in an unexpected way. Her second film was Ben and Ara, followed by her most recent film Everything But a Man starring Monica Calhoun and Jimmy Jean-Louis (2019 ). Likké wrote, directed and produced Everything But a Man, about the challenges successful, career-driven women have finding love. Likké is currently working on multiple projects for film and TV.


Awards, Nominations and Honours

  • In 2015, Likké received an honorary mention for Best Feature Film at the All Lights India International Film Festival.
  • In 2016, Likké received the Best Female Protagonist award for her film Ben and Araat the Nevada Women's Film Festival.
  • In 2016, Ben and Ara won the award for Best Diaspora film by the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).