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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

8 of the Most Influential Black Film Directors in America

Tyler Perry and Ava Duvernay

Nationwide — As challenging as it is to become a successful filmmaker, it’s even more challenging to become a famous Black filmmaker. Many of these legendary directors make incredible movies that address the history and struggles of the African-American community. They give a voice to disadvantaged members of American society, and they influence others to adopt a more inclusive way of thinking in the process.

The list below features just some of the most influential Black film directors in America and their most world-renowned works:

  1. Spike Lee
    Fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a famous filmmaker, Lee is now one of the most well-known directors in the movie industry. Known for his controversial films like Malcom X, Do the Right Thing, and BlacKKKlansman, he focuses on capturing the Black experience in its entirety.
  2. John Singleton
    After receiving critical acclaim for his first film, Boyz n the Hood, Singleton was given the opportunity to direct the “Remember the Time” music video for Michael Jackson. Along with his film repertoire, he’s also worked in television and has directed episodes for Empire, The People v. O.J., and Billions.
  3. F. Gary Gray
    Gray started his career directing music video scenes or big-name artists like Mary J. Blige, TLC, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Stevie Wonder, and more. After establishing himself within the music industry, he decided to try film. In 1995, he released his first feature film, Friday. It was a box office hit and opened the door for him to go on and direct other movies, such as Set It Off, Straight Outta Compton, and The Negotiator.
  4. Ryan Coogler
    After a college creative writing professor urged him to try his hand at screenwriting, Coogler never looked back. He’s now one of the masterminds behind box-office hits like Black Panther, Creed, and Fruitvale Station. These few films are just the start; Coogler has a long career in film ahead of him.
  5. Antoine Fuqua
    Like many of his peers, Fuqua got his start through directing music videos. After working on projects for artists like Prince, Stevie Wonder, and Toni Braxton, he took his talents to film. He’s now known for dramatic films like Training Day, King Arthur, The Equalizer series, and The Magnificent Seven.
  6. Jordan Peele
    Before gaining popularity in film, Peele was best known as one of the comedians on and co-creators of Comedy Central’s Key & Peele sketch comedy show. Two years after the show ended, Peele released Get Out—his Oscar-winning horror movie. This film put him on the map of big-name directors, and he plans to release his next film, Us, in 2019.
  7. Ava DuVernay
    Ava DuVernay has had a lot of firsts in her career. She was the first African-American woman to receive a Golden Globe nomination for directing, the first African-American woman to have a film nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, and the first African-American woman to win best director at Sundance. Her films Selma, A Wrinkle in Time, and 13th, have all made waves.
  8. Barry Jenkins
    One of the most critically acclaimed directors and screenwriters, Jenkins has been nominated for over twenty awards within in industry. His film Moonlight won best picture at the 2017 Golden Globes and was also nominated for eight Academy Awards (it claimed best picture and best adapted screenplay). He’s the first African-American filmmaker in Oscar history to be nominated under best director, best film, and best screenplay.
  9. Tyler Perry
    Tyler Perry is a multi-talented film and television icon—his beloved movies, books, plays, and TV shows have all helped him build an entertainment empire. Inspired while watching an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, he decided to write about his difficult life experiences to achieve personal breakthrough. He’s now an extremely popular African-American actor, writer, director, comedian, and playwright.