Best Black Directors

by octagonproplex | created - 05 Dec 2015 | updated - 10 months ago | Public

1. Antoine Fuqua

Director | The Magnificent Seven

Antoine Fuqua is an American film director, known for his work in the film Training Day as well as The Replacement Killers, Tears of the Sun, King Arthur, Shooter, Brooklyn's Finest, Olympus Has Fallen and The Equalizer.

He has directed music videos for such artists as Arrested Development, Prince, ...

2. Allen Hughes

Director | The Book of Eli

Albert and Allen Hughes began making movies at age 12, but their formal film education began their freshman year of high school when Allen took a TV production class. They soon made a short film entitled How To Be A Burglar and people began to take notice. Their next work, Uncensored videos, was ...

3. Albert Hughes

Director | The Book of Eli

Albert and Allen Hughes began making movies at age 12, but their formal film education began their freshman year of high school when Allen took a TV production class. They soon made a short film entitled How To Be A Burglar and people began to take notice. Their next work, Uncensored videos, was ...

4. F. Gary Gray

Director | Set It Off

F. Gary Gray was born on July 17, 1969 in New York City, New York, USA as Felix Gary Gray. He is a director and actor, known for Set It Off (1996), The Italian Job (2003) and The Negotiator (1998).

5. Ryan Coogler

Director | Creed

Ryan Coogler was born on May 23, 1986 in Oakland, California, USA as Ryan Kyle Coogler. He is a director and writer, known for Creed (2015), Fruitvale Station (2013) and Black Panther (2018).

6. Amma Asante

Director | Belle

Amma Asante is a screenwriter and director, known for Belle (2013), and A Way of Life (2004). She is a former child actress, who began her writing career at the age of 23 with a script deals from both Channel 4 in the UK and BBC. Her first movie, A Way of Life, which she wrote and directed won her ...

7. Spike Lee

Director | Do the Right Thing

Spike Lee was born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957, in Atlanta, Georgia. At a very young age, he moved from pre-civil rights Georgia, to Brooklyn, New York. Lee came from artistic, education-grounded background; his father was a jazz musician, and his mother, a schoolteacher. He attended ...

8. John Singleton

Writer | Boyz n the Hood

Son of mortgage broker Danny Singleton and pharmaceutical company sales executive Sheila Ward and raised in separate households by his unmarried parents, John Singleton attended the Film Writing Program at USC after graduating from high school in 1986. While studying there, he won three writing ...

9. Steve McQueen

Director | 12 Years a Slave

Steve McQueen was born on October 9, 1969 in London, England as Steve Rodney McQueen. He is a director and writer, known for 12 Years a Slave (2013), Shame (2011) and Hunger (2008). He is married to Bianca Stigter. They have two children.

10. Denzel Washington

Actor | Fences

Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. was born on December 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He is the middle of three children of a beautician mother, Lennis, from Georgia, and a Pentecostal minister father, Denzel Washington, Sr., from Virginia. After graduating from high school, Denzel enrolled at ...

11. Carl Franklin

Director | One False Move

Carl Franklin studied history and dramatic arts at UC Berkeley. After several years as a television actor with guest shots, roles in TV movies, miniseries, and appearing as a regular on a few unsuccessful series, he returned to school and received his master's degree in directing from the American ...

12. Thomas Carter

Director | Coach Carter

Thomas Carter was born on July 17, 1953 in Austin, Texas, USA as Thomas Colbert Carter. He is a director and producer, known for Coach Carter (2005), Equal Justice (1990) and Save the Last Dance (2001).

13. Ava DuVernay

Producer | Queen Sugar

A director, producer, writer, marketer and film distributor, Ava DuVernay made her feature film debut with the documentary This in the Life (2008), a history on hip hop movement that flourished in Los Angeles in the 1990's. This was followed by series of television music documentaries which ...

14. Ernest R. Dickerson

Cinematographer | Do the Right Thing

Ernest Roscoe Dickerson A.S.C., aka. Ernest R. Dickerson, is an American film director and cinematographer. As a cinematographer, he is known for his frequent collaborations with Spike Lee. As a director, he is known for films such as Juice (1992), Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995), Bones (...

15. Dee Rees

Director | Mudbound

Writer/Director Dee Rees is an alumna of New York University's graduate film program and a Sundance Screenwriting & Directing Lab Fellow.

In 2018, Dee became the first Black woman nominated for an Oscar in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for her highly-acclaimed film Mudbound (2017). The film, ...

16. Tim Story

Director | Fantastic Four

Timothy Kevin Story was born on March 13, 1970 in Los Angeles, California. Attended Westchester High School in Los Angeles, California with jazz pianist Eric Reed and actresses Regina King and Nia Long. Graduated from USC film school.

17. Forest Whitaker

Actor | The Last King of Scotland

Forest Steven Whitaker has packaged a king-size talent into his hulking 6' 2", 220 lb. frame. He won an Academy Award for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the film The Last King of Scotland (2006), and has also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. He is the fourth African-American male to...

18. George Tillman Jr.

Director | Faster

After seeing the films, COOLEY HIGH and TAXI DRIVER, Milwaukee, Wisconsin native George Tillman, Jr. became inspired to make films of his own. In 1994, George wrote and directed his first feature film, SCENES FOR THE SOUL. It was shot entirely in Chicago, using local talent and resources. The film,...

19. Malcolm D. Lee

Director | Girls Trip

Malcolm D. Lee was born on January 11, 1970 in the USA. He is a director and producer, known for Girls Trip (2017), Undercover Brother (2002) and The Best Man Holiday (2013).

20. Gina Prince-Bythewood

Writer | Shots Fired

Gina Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed the widely acclaimed feature film Love & Basketball (2000) which premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. She won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature and a Humanitas Prize for her work on the film. Her other directing credits include ...

21. Mario Van Peebles

Actor | Heartbreak Ridge

Mario Van Peebles is a highly regarded director, actor, producer and writer. His directorial skills can be seen in the retelling of the epic mini-series "Roots" starring Forest Whitaker and Matthew Goode. Van Pebbles has directed award-winning shows such as the recent hit "Empire" and "The Last ...

22. Bill Duke

Actor | Predator

Duke Media Entertainment, led by actor, director, producer, writer and humanitarian, Bill Duke, is dedicated to bringing quality Edutainment to audiences around the globe. Formerly Yagya Productions, Duke Media has successfully produced critically acclaimed film and television content for more than...

23. Clark Johnson

Actor | S.W.A.T.

Clark Johnson was born on September 10, 1954 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He is an actor and director, known for S.W.A.T. (2003), Homicide: Life on the Street (1993) and The Sentinel (2006). He was previously married to Heather Salmon.

24. Kevin Bray

Director | Walking Tall

Kevin Bray is a director and producer, known for Walking Tall (2004), All About the Benjamins (2002) and Heroes (2006).

25. Kevin Hooks

Actor | Innerspace

Kevin Hooks was born on September 19, 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He is a director and producer, known for Innerspace (1987), Last Resort (2012) and Passenger 57 (1992). He is married to Cheryl. They have two children. He was previously married to Regina Hooks.

26. Sylvain White

Director | Stomp the Yard

Filmmaker Sylvain White was born and raised in Paris, France. After attending La Sorbonne University, he earned a scholarship at Pomona College in Los Angeles. Upon graduating with honors in both film production and media studies, a series of award-winning short films led him to direct a spectrum ...

27. Kasi Lemmons

Actress | The Silence of the Lambs

Kasi Lemmons was born on February 24, 1961 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA as Karen Lemmons. She is an actress and director, known for The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Candyman (1992) and Eve's Bayou (1997). She has been married to Vondie Curtis-Hall since 1995. They have two children.

28. Vondie Curtis-Hall

Actor | Romeo + Juliet

Vondie Curtis-Hall was born on September 30, 1950 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. He is an actor and director, known for Romeo + Juliet (1996), Chicago Hope (1994) and Broken Arrow (1996). He has been married to Kasi Lemmons since 1995. They have two children.

29. Robert Townsend

Producer | Hollywood Shuffle

Robert Townsend transcends any medium he touches whether he's performing stand up, acting, writing, directing, producing, or running a television network. A Chicago native, Townsend is often referred to as one of the "Godfathers" of the Independent Film World." With over 30 years in the business, ...

30. Keenen Ivory Wayans

Writer | White Chicks

The trail-blazing linchpin of a sprawling African-American family of comic entertainers, it was multi-talented writer/director/producer Keenen Ivory Wayans (born June 8, 1958, in New York City) who was the first to achieve national prominence by successfully creating, launching and hosting a ...

31. Charles Stone III

Director | Drumline

Charles Stone III was born in 1966. He is a director and actor, known for Drumline (2002), Mr 3000 (2004) and Paid in Full (2002).

32. Darnell Martin

Director | I Like It Like That

Darnell Martin was born on January 7, 1964 in Bronx, New York, USA. She is a director and writer, known for I Like It Like That (1994), Cadillac Records (2008) and Do the Right Thing (1989). She is married to Giuseppe Ducrot.

33. Lee Daniels

Producer | Precious

Lee Daniels gave his parents an early Christmas present when he entered the world on December 24, 1959; unfortunately, the Philadelphia native was to have a difficult relationship with his police officer father who later reacted violently to his son's sexuality. Despite the brutality of his ...

34. Benny Boom

Director | Black Lightning

Benny Boom is a director and producer, known for Black Lightning (2018), All Eyez on Me (2017) and Next Day Air (2009).

35. Hype Williams

Director | Belly

Williams attended Adelphi University. He first displayed his work by tagging local billboards, storefronts, and playgrounds using HYPE as his graffiti tag. His graffiti style was influenced by artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His big break came when he began working with Classic ...

36. Paul Hunter

Director | Bulletproof Monk

Paul Hunter's inventive style has arguably elevated the standard of music video production. Having worked with celebrated musical artists including Jennifer Lopez, Lenny Kravitz, Christina Aguilera, Eminem, D'Angelo, Courtney Love, Marilyn Manson, Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Mariah Carey, Will Smith and ...

37. Bille Woodruff

Director | The Perfect Match

Bille Woodruff has worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment. Raised in Virginia, Bille attended University of Maryland, College Park, as a National Merit Scholar on a full academic scholarship with plans of becoming an anthropologist. Things took an unexpected twist once he began an ...



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