Melina Matsoukas was born on Jan. 14, 1981. She began her formal education in filmmaking at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. After graduating from NYU, Matsoukas went on to pursue a Master's degree in cinematography from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Matsoukas' appointed music video filmmaking as her academic focus, which predicted the bulk of her work in the years to follow. During and immediately following her academic tenure, Matsoukas worked as a cinematographer on a number of short films, multiple by director Andrea Janakas. All the while, she built up a résumé working on music videos for artists like Ludacris, Ne-Yo, and Lloyd Banks. In 2007, she began what would become a longstanding relationship with pop and R&B icon Beyoncé Knowles, co-directing with Knowles herself a number of videos for songs from her album B'Day (2007). Matsoukas continued to collaborate with big name artists, notably Jennifer Lopez, Snoop Dogg, Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, and Rihanna, among others. The latter's 2011 hit song "We Found Love" would become Matsoukas' biggest hits as a director, although it would be her partnership with Knowles that would bring her the most consistent success. Matsoukas played sole director on the video for Knowles' 2013 song "Pretty Hurts," likewise for her 2016 song "Formation" from the album Lemonade (2016). The accompanying film project, "Lemonade" (HBO 2016), would showcase Matsoukas' directing prowess in a brand new format. Soon after, Matsoukas took on her first job as a narrative director, helming four episodes in the first season of Issa Rae's comedy series "Insecure" (HBO 2016-).