Darnell Martin (born January 7, 1964) is a television and film director, screenwriter, and film producer.
Martin was born in Bronx, New York. From the Bronx, she went on to Sarah Lawrence College and New York University Film School. Along the way, she worked in film labs and camera rental houses and as a bartender, made music videos and short films, and wrote the first draft of I Like It Like That.
In 1992, Martin's short film, Suspect, which examined the treatment of young black people as assumed criminals, won critical acclaim at the New York Public Theater's Young Black Cinema showcase. After directing her first short film, Suspect, Martin served as assistant camera operator for Jonathan Demme's documentary Cousin Bobby, a film about his cousin Robert Castle, an Episcopal pastor who works in Harlem. The film was well-received from the majority of critics.
In 1994, Martin became the first African-American woman to direct and produce a movie produced by a major studio, Columbia Pictures. I Like It Like That, a romantic comedy-drama film about a young woman trying to love her man, keep her family together, assert her self-worth as a person, and keep her sanity all at the same time. The film was well-received by critics, but it didn't perform well at the box office. In 2001 Martin directed Prison Song. She has directed episodes of TV shows like Law & Order and Grey's Anatomy. In 2008, Martin returned to the big screen in which she wrote and directed a musical-drama film based on Leonard Chess and the singers who recorded for Chess Records titled Cadillac Records.