Top Black Filmmakers (Directors & Producers)

by VAFilmBoy | created - 2 months ago | updated - 2 months ago | Public

This is a list of top black filmmakers in no particular order.

1. Shonda Rhimes

Writer | Grey's Anatomy

Shonda Rhimes was born on January 13, 1970 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Shonda Lynn Rhimes. She is a writer and producer, known for Grey's Anatomy (2005), Scandal (2012) and Crossroads (2002).

2. Broderick Johnson

Producer | Blade Runner 2049

Broderick Johnson is a producer and executive, known for Blade Runner 2049 (2017), The Book of Eli (2010) and The Blind Side (2009).

It was the sleeper hit The Blind Side that capitulated Broderick Johnson into the spotlight. The film was backed with a $29 million production budget and grossed more than $300 million worldwide, making it one of the most successful sports dramas in film history. The film’s Oscar nomination for Best Picture made Johnson just the third African American producer to earn an Academy Award nod in this category.

3. Jordan Peele

Writer | Get Out

Jordan Haworth Peele attended Sarah Lawrence College as a member of the class of 2001. His mother is white and his father is black. Jordan is married to comedian Chelsea Peretti, with whom he has a son.

He is known for co-writing and starring in the comedy Keanu (2016), opposite his close friend ...

Get Out, Us

4. Debra Martin Chase

Producer | Courage Under Fire

Debra Martin Chase was born on October 11, 1956 in Great Lakes, Illinois, USA. She is a producer and executive, known for Courage Under Fire (1996), The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005) and The Princess Diaries (2001).

Not long after her Oscar and Emmy nods for the documentary “Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream,” Debra Martin Chase became the first African American woman to have a solo deal at a major studio: Martin Chase Productions, which is affiliated with the Walt Disney Co.

5. Ryan Coogler

Director | Black Panther

Ryan Coogler was born on May 23, 1986 in Oakland, California, USA as Ryan Kyle Coogler. He is a director and writer, known for Black Panther (2018), Creed (2015) and Fruitvale Station (2013). He has been married to Zinzi Evans since 2016.

Black Panther, Fruitvale Station

6. 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 ...

Central Park Five, 13th, Selma ( directed and co-wrote )

7. 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 producer, known for Set It Off (1996), The Italian Job (2003) and The Negotiator (1998).

8. 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 ...

Do The Right Thing, Malcom X, School Daze

9. Tyler Perry

Writer | Diary of a Mad Black Woman

Perry was born and raised in New Orleans, to Willie Maxine (Campbell) and Emmitt Perry, Sr. His mother was a church-goer and took Perry along with her once a week. His father was a carpenter and they had a very strained and abusive relationship, which led Perry to suffer from depression as a ...

10. Ice Cube

Soundtrack | Friday

Ice Cube was born in South Central Los Angeles, to Doris (Benjamin), a custodian and hospital clerk, and Hosea Jackson, a UCLA groundskeeper. He first came to public notice as a singer and songwriter with the controversial and influential band N.W.A. His compositions with that group included many ...

11. James Lassiter

Producer | Seven Pounds

James Lassiter is a producer, known for Seven Pounds (2008), Hitch (2005) and I, Robot (2004).

Over the past 14 years, James Lassiter and Will Smith have left their golden imprint on a diverse slate of critically acclaimed and blockbuster feature films. Their extraordinary hit list includes “I Am Legend,” “Hancock,” and “The Karate Kid” remake, which grossed more than $359.1 million worldwide.

12. John Singleton

Writer | Boyz n the Hood

Son of Danny Singleton, a mortgage broker, and Sheila Ward, a pharmaceutical company sales executive, 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 ...

13. Sidney Poitier

Actor | In the Heat of the Night

A native of Cat Island, The Bahamas (although born, two months prematurely, in Miami during a visit by his parents), Poitier grew up in poverty as the son of farmers Evelyn (nee Outten) and Reginald James Poitier, who also drove a cab. He had little formal education and at the age of 15 was sent to...

Uptown Saturday Night, Stir Crazy

14. 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 ...

Menace to Society, Dead presidents, Book of eli, Broken city, New york i love you, and more

15. 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).

The best man, Best man Holiday, Soul men, scary movie 5, under cover brother, welcome home Rosco jenkins, Roll bounce

16. Keenen Ivory Wayans

Writer | In Living Color

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 ...

Scarey Movie 1-4, Little man, White chicks, Low down dirty shame, most wanted and more

17. Marlon Wayans

Actor | White Chicks

Marlon Wayans was born on July 23, 1972 in New York City, New York, USA as Marlon L. Wayans. He is an actor and writer, known for White Chicks (2004), Little Man (2006) and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009). He was previously married to Angelica Zachary.

White Chicks, Scary Movie, A Haunted House

18. 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 ...

Book of eli, Menace to society, Dead presidents and more

19. 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 ...

New jack city, Posse, 21 jump street ( 1989 ), and more

20. 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, ...

Five heartbeats, In the Hive, Baps, and others

21. 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 ...

The Butler, Empire, Precious

22. 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...

23. 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 ...

24. Will Packer

Producer | Girls Trip

Producer Will Packer has established himself as one of Hollywood's blockbuster hit makers and is one of the only African American producers in the world that has had eight of their films open number one at the box office. Collectively, his films have grossed nearly $1 billion.

Packer's number one ...

25. Reuben Cannon

Casting_director | Ghosts of Mars

Reuben Cannon was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1946. He attended Southeast City College. Cannon worked at Universal Studios from 1970 to 1978, eventually becoming a casting director. He also was the head of television casting for Warner Brothers from 1977 to 1978. Cannon started his own casting ...

Producer Reuben Cannon has earned a reputation for being an innovative and trendsetting force in Hollywood over the past three decades. He is credited with launching the movie careers of Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, whom he cast in “The Color Purple.”

26. Martin Lawrence

Actor | Martin

Martin Lawrence was born on April 16, 1965 in Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany as Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence. He is an actor and writer, known for Martin (1992), Bad Boys II (2003) and Bad Boys (1995). He has been married to Shamicka Gibbs since July 10, 2010. They have two children. He was ...

27. Eddie Murphy

Actor | The Nutty Professor

Edward Regan Murphy was born April 3, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York, to Lillian Lynch (born: Lillian Laney), a telephone operator, and Charles Edward Murphy, a transit police officer who was also an amateur comedian and actor. After his father died, his mother married Vernon Lynch, a foreman at a ...



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