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John Ridley Poster

Biography

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Overview (1)

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Mini Bio (1)

John Ridley is the author of seven published novels, the most recent, What Fire Cannot Burn from Warner Books and The Drift from Knopf. His first novel, Stray Dogs, was made into the feature film U Turn (1997) directed by Oliver Stone and starring Sean Penn, Jennifer Lopez, and Nick Nolte. Additionally, Ridley wrote the screenplays for the films Undercover Brother (2002) and Cold Around the Heart (1997) and wrote the story for Three Kings (1999).

He is a playwright as well and in 2005 produced the world premiere of his first play, Ten Thousand Years. Ridley is also a commentator for National Public Radio and a regular contributor to California Connected (2002), an award-winning, news magazine which airs throughout California on 12 Public Television stations. He was the host of Movie Club with John Ridley (2004) on AMC, a unique movie review program with a panel of critics.

Ridley also wrote, directed, and produced the popular TV show, Barbershop (2005) formerly on Showtime.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Evans Webb (revised)

Spouse (1)

Gayle Ridley (? - ?) ( 2 children)

Trivia (6)

Wrote a draft for the script of Beverly Hills Cop IV (2014) but the script was rejected.
Wrote the graphic novel, "The Authority: Human On The Inside."
Alumnus of Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin, USA.
Studied East Asian languages and culture at New York University.
During the writers' strike of 2007-2008, he chose financial core status with the Writers Guild of America and continued working. He was the only non-soap opera writer to do so.
A contributor to MSNBC on "Morning Joe" and other programs. [March 2008]

Personal Quotes (95)

Gay marriage will be universally accepted in time. But if I may be so bold as to say to gays and lesbians, don't wait for that time to arrive. Just as my father and his generation did not 'wait' for their civil rights, nor should you. The toothpaste ain't going back in the tube. The tide has turned.
I don't think I'm alarmist. I'm more disappointed by the euphemisms in some instances than outright bigotry. Now, to me, you walk around with a Klan hat on or you've got a swastika on you arm, you just look like a dope, you know what I mean?
As far as superhero stories, what's appealing is of course that aspect of wish fulfillment. I mean, you start out reading them as a kid, and a couple things jump out at you - there are heroes out there, and you wish you could run into a phone booth and change your life, or be like Peter Parker and put on a mask and become a hero.
If the Olympic Games ever served a true altruistic purpose, they have long since outlived it. Yeah, the pursuit of athletic excellence, sportsmanship and international goodwill is plenty noble. But the modern Olympics are at best a vehicle for agitprop; at worst, a scandal magnet.
Why don't we hear more about and from Asians when it comes to race in America? Are Asians the new Invisible Man - there but not there? In some ways, yeah. Blacks and whites are always carping about the metrics of racism. And any conversation about immigration reform is immediately flipped into a referendum on Hispanics.
When I go to business meetings, I'm still told way too often by some receptionist, 'The mail room is downstairs,' to believe that racial perceptions don't still exist. But I figure there are always going to be knuckleheads no matter how many of their herd get stuck in the tar pits of progress.
Facts tend to take the punch out of a good hate rant and are therefore left best unsaid.
Bigots are actually funny to me in the way that people who still wear parachute pants give me a chuckle.
I don't know what's hipper: to Facebook or to Twitter. I just know for me, personally, discretion never went out of style.
It does no good to believe in what does not exist to the point one cannot focus on what is real. That would be the greatest tragedy of any 'conspiracy.'
Old white guys can be a funny bunch, can't they? The same anti-same-sex marriage, anti-affirmative action cadre can flower into the biggest supporters of 'equality' the minute they get a whiff of minority empowerment.
As a coping mechanism, or as a way to make a little hard count by shilling demons in the shadows, I try not to belittle the thought process of the conspiracy theorists. As a cocktail waitress in Vegas once schooled me: never get down on anybody else's hustle.
Bad news: Complainers are rewarded for complaining. Indicative of the victim culture in which we live, people have not only come to expect something for nothing, but are then rewarded for how loudly they can ventilate their sense of having been victims of fraud.
Every president to hold office has espoused some version of Americanism - the truths that we hold self-evident, even when those truths are not always in evidence. But for all their grand rhetoric and mostly good deeds, none was able to seal the deal on the trifecta of equality, plurality and socioeconomic ascendancy. Obama has.
Slavery was not a bad day on the job. It was not your boss yelling at you. It was not hard work for little pay. This was a full system of human subjugation.
As an individual, and I have to say as a person of color, the thing about being an 'other' in America is I really feel like you're bilingual. I'm from a small town in Wisconsin, but even when I'm in New York and I'm working for MSNBC or CNN, you're used to being the only black person in the room.
For children, diversity needs to be real and not merely relegated to learning the names of the usual suspects during Black History Month or enjoying south-of-the-border cuisine on Cinco de Mayo. It means talking to and spending time with kids not like them so that they may discover those kids are in fact just like them.
White folks, no matter how well-meaning or open-minded, have no true idea what it's like to be black in America. That's not a slam against white people or an accusation of latent bigotry. But the fact is that we all live in an Anglo-dominated society.
Perhaps the single most important thing for a child is to be with a loving, supportive family. And all things being equal, any child of any race should be placed with any qualified parents without restriction or special conditions.
With writing, timing is everything. Being in the right place at the right time.
Reactionary conservatives are smiling through the racial apocalypse. To them, race baiting is a joke, as 'humorist' Rush Limbaugh will tell you when he's calling Mexicans 'stupid.' Or it's a matter of semantics when they claim that Sonia Sotomayor is a 'racialist' which, far as I can tell, is the smooth jazz version of being a racist.
The great thing about working with NPR - and, really, there's like a million of 'em - is all the cool stuff I get to do for the public. Meet the president. Hang out at the National Finals Rodeo in Vegas. Drink a $10,000 martini.
There are any number of very hard working people in Hollywood who deserve recognition. Mostly its the artisans and crafts persons - the 'below the line' workers - whose only reward is to be pejoratively labeled 'below the line' workers. I say get them all on the next thing smoking to Vegas for an all expense paid weekend of whatever.
To this day, the only argument against Obama that critics can seem to come up with involves admitting he's better than them - though they certainly season it with some racism. You know, he's that lucky black man who actually appeals to the populace. He's that elitist who got himself off food stamps and into Harvard.
Much as banks don't care where your money's coming from, the Electoral College is all 'don't ask, don't care' when it comes to votes.
I got a call saying that George Lucas wanted to meet me. Of all the phone calls I've received - Oliver Stone wants to meet you; Spike Lee wants to meet you - that was the one call I never in a million years thought was going to happen.
Fact is, awards shows were never really about recognizing achievement. They were a publicity ploy cooked up in the late 1920s by MGM topper Louie Mayer and his newly formed Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which was itself, back in the day, nothing but a front organization to discourage unionizing.
I don't want an underachiever working on my car's transmission. Why would I want someone regular sitting in the Oval Office? Sorry, give me somebody who has demonstrated a capacity to excel.
At the risk of sounding like that old guy in 'Gran Torino' telling those 'young punks' to 'get off my lawn,' it's gotten to the point that whenever I hear somebody talking about Twitter or twittering or tweeting, it just makes my little tummy want to hurl.
For the vast majority of those who are obese - those with a Body Mass Index over 30 - their size is their choice. They choose to take in more calories than they burn. They choose to take in high fat calories over low-fat ones. They choose to fad diet, if they choose to diet at all.
For every horrific event, something beautiful happens.
Slavery is something that affects all of us. It's all of our history.
Oh, happy day when the enemies of ascendancy have got to confess that people of color rock.
When it comes to fighting for freedom, those who are willing to fight should not be limited by our bigotry. Only rewarded with our gratitude.
Being of color in America by no means amounts to a constant barrage of negativity. However, unlike being white, being of color means one's race is a constant issue.
Certainly as a kid, I grew up with Batman, Superman, whoever - they didn't need to be black for me to relate to them. But when a character like Cyborg came along, I got excited, because he looked a little bit more like me; his experiences were a little bit more like mine.
From the moment we were first dumped in Jamestown and had our teeth checked before getting sold off and later considered three-fifths of a human being, an abundance of 'likability' hasn't been something blacks have had to stockpile. Instead, it's been a centuries-long battle for respectability.
Can you have a heritage more American than Obama's? The literal marriage of the immigrant and native. Born in our most diverse state. One without an ethnic majority, but where people of mixed race make up some 20 percent of the total population. There is nothing about Obama's background that isn't truth to the tired saw of the American melting pot.
Governmental intervention and personal responsibility are not mutually exclusive issues, but they do frame a 'do it ourselves' vs. 'what are you doing for us' debate. For the black community, that's a debate that's been raging at least as far back as the W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington philosophical grudge matches.
It is time to celebrate the New Black Americans - those who have sealed the Deal, who aren't beholden to liberal indulgence any more than they are to the disdain of the hard Right. It is time to praise blacks who are merely undeniable in their individuality and exemplary in their levels of achievement.
Just mention the idea of warrantless wiretaps and expect to get hit up with a congressional investigation. But give somebody an avatar and a URL, and he can't tweet, post or hyperlink enough personal information about himself to as many people as possible.
There remains a degree of anti-black intellectualism in entertainment. Middle and upper-middle class blacks have often been portrayed as buffoons in popular culture; witness the characters of Carlton Banks on 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' and Braxton P. Hartnabrig on 'The Jamie Foxx Show.'
Our touchstones of slavery are 'Song of the South,' 'Gone With the Wind' and 'The Birth of a Nation.' It's hard to separate the cinematic quality from the underlying themes. I appreciate the films, but the message was repugnant.
'The Martin Show,' the 'Jamie Foxx show,' 'Living Single,' 'The Wayans Brothers,' 'Hanging with Mr. Cooper...' Some of these shows were good, some were typical television, but they facilitated a lot of work for blacks in front of as well as behind the camera. A lot of us in Hollywood thought it was the beginning of a real racial breakthrough.
The hypocrisy and false piety of the deniers aside, the relationships of gays have no effect on heteros. Especially all the heteros who've done such a marvelous job of debasing marriage on their own all these many years.
If art is singular expression, then by nature, the best art is controversial. But when art stirs debate for reasons besides its artistic integrity, that's when things get bent.
In every election cycle that I can recall, there comes a moment - or a few - where charges of elitism and claims of commonness are wielded by presidential candidates like a sword and shield: 'Vote for me 'cause I'm one of you. It's the other guy who's out of touch.'
Republicans can be a funny bunch. They're against affirmative action, but they always seem to be able to find people of color to fill a slot just when they're most needed.
If there are two kinds of people in the world - DC Comics people and Marvel Comics people - what kind am I? Well, to be honest... I'm a Wildstorm kinda guy. In the interest of full and fair disclosure, I write for Wildstorm. But even if I didn't, I'd love what they do. No, seriously, I'd love their stuff.
There are still some people out there who believe comic books are nothing more than, well, comic books. But the true cognoscenti know graphic novels are - at their best - an amazing blend of art literature and the theater of the mind.
Writing a screenplay needs to be more than words on a page - and by the way, I think the words on the page are something you have to try to execute on the highest level you can; I'm not dismissing that by any regard.
There's no disputing that for pols, the Internet is a great way to connect with people and raise some cash and post 'Sopranos' parodies or play your opponent's macaca moments. But in a 'net root' sense, it's pretty useless for getting someone elected.
Why is it that the very people who have fought so hard and so long for the simple entitlement to love whom they choose to love are the very ones denied that right by those who routinely take their vows for granted?
The thing about working in Hollywood is that, at some point, you really get tired of hearing how godless you are, and how if you and the rest of the heathens in Tinsel town would put more God-centric shows on TV, people wouldn't be abandoning prime time in favor of their Bible study classes.
Let's be very clear: Living 'unforgiven' is not the sole domain of blacks. It can be found in any successful person.
Quite simply, quite plainly, just by virtue of his being, Obama is America. The first true American to lead our nation.
There is not a country on earth whose people don't deserve to be free and safe.
Obama is the New Generation and the hot light of a dawn that goes way beyond clever talk of morning in America.
If some of us can get an Oscar for extolling that it's hard out there for a pimp, why can't others of us admonish: 'Then quit acting like a pimp'?
I still have my first 'Black Lightning' that I got way back in the day, and my first 'Steel.' And I proudly display those comics, by the way. I have a lot of comics, but those are among the ones that mean the most to me.
With fear of stating the obvious: Freedom belongs to 'We the People,' not 'They the Politicians.'
I can tell you from personal experience it gets a little tiring having to make the rounds on cable shows to explain 'what's up with black folks.'
Even I haven't downed enough L.A. Kool-Aid to believe that somehow Hollywood movies are an overt instrument of morality.
I understand politicos gotta make bank. But cloistering with the Hollywood elite is not how you prove you're a man of the people.
I haven't tweeted once in my life, but I'm sick of hearing about it already. What once may have been the cool way of letting a hundred people know that you're about to go mow your lawn now has the feel of a used-to-be-fresh means of communicating. So yesterday, like two-way pagers. And AOL.
Seriously, you know - I love to write. I enjoy the process; I enjoy the different processes, because writing for film and television and graphic novels is all very different. So I've never had the feeling of, 'Oh, you have to do this one thing.'
I love graphic novels - I love reading them, I enjoyed writing them, I would love to go back and do them again. I hope I'm savvy enough to do them in the right way.
Conservative talkers love to throw numbers around: their ratings and their audience size. And to be sure, they have a sizable audience which numbers in the tens of millions. But having people tune in and being able to dictate their actions are two different things.
I like animals. I like people who like animals. I hate people who love animals to the point they lose their sense of reason. I'm talking the 'my computer wallpaper is my dog,' 'I hang a Christmas stocking for my cat' crowd.
I've never been much of a European traveler. London once on a book tour, and Italy because that's where Ferraris are from. That's about it.
I'm sorry, but chick fights are sexy. If you don't think so, you're either an uptight woman or a lying man.
I've no desire to start a movement, to be the first name on an open petition, or to be the poster child for disgruntled writers.
I'm John the Fourth, so I think there's a lot of things in life that have been truly handed to me by the hard work and the pain of others.
I've written films that are violent. I'm not big on sitting and watching violence.
As long as we remain committed to holding high our individuals of supreme finish, others will be inspired to loose themselves of the gravity of the waywards and downtroddens.
Awards shows have devolved into self-parodies - liberals in limos, corny insider jokes delivered by the hosts among bad teleprompter reading from the some of the best thespians on the planet.
While most trudge through their days straight-jacketed in the social compact, living for others as much as or more than for themselves, a select few excel.
As an ex-stand up, I can tell you that a comedy club isn't a place you go looking to get the abuse you just can't seem to find in daily life. The stage is a performer's domain. You protect that domain. You are not on stage to take what's given just 'cause you're getting paid. If you are attacked, you retaliate.
So, is Hollywood anti-religion? Not in my opinion. But unlike, say, politicians and preachers who talk faith before going off to speak in tongues to their mistresses, Hollywood just doesn't wear its faith on its sleeve.
Yes, it's hard to stay in shape, but it's also hard to raise kids. That doesn't mean you get to drop them off at your local fire station when they get to be a handful.
In the Everybody-Give-Me-A-Hug victim culture in which we live, the obese want a spot at the table along with those who face discrimination based on the way that God or Nature or our Intelligent Designer created us.
Not only does Hollywood make money - it seems to make better movies during recessions. I'm sure a lot of studio executives wish we could have one every year.
If the American public is so into morality in movies, why don't they throw more of their disposable income at religious-themed entertainment? For every 'Passion of the Christ,' there's a 'Fireproof' that comes and goes with no notice.
It's funny: over time, if you're fortunate, you build a nice career, and you have these interesting moments, and I would not, looking back, trade any of them - 'Red Tails,' '12 Years a Slave' and 'Undercover Brother.'
It's not that white guys shouldn't be allowed to engage in discussions on race in America. But there's nothing more exhausting than white male liberals' dogmatisms on race that were clearly formed during a conversation they had with that one black guy they met back in college.
Until politicos take a true stand in defense of marriage by proposing an anti-adultery amendment to the Constitution, stop demonizing gays and lesbians when the one debasing your marriage is the individual in the mirror.
People of color grow up steeped in 'white' culture. The reverse is not true. And, no, listening to hip-hop on the way to work does not count as immersion.
Why do we cling to bigotry? Because bigotry, plainly, is convenient. It is a near-effortless way to both elevate one's stature and make a pity grab in this culture of victims that we have become.
When times are tough, people want to escape to somewhere fantastic without having to pay actual escape-to-somewhere-fantastic cash. And offering a couple of hours away from the ordinary is what the movies do best.
There are some individuals who look at graphic novels as 'canon,' and they cannot change in any way, shape or form, and that's what makes them in some ways good fans.
Fanboys are a creator's blessing and curse. If a fanboy likes you, they love you. Obsessively. If you cross them with some plot point or story direction they reject, expect to be wholly and continually eviscerated across the Internet.
If faux liberal white guys want to support and defend Obama, by all means please do so. But I would suggest they try to limit that support to matters of policy and not perspectives on race.
I don't really have anything against the French except that, as an American, I've been bred to despise them with the same zeal as soccer and Renny Harlin films.
I remember 'Roots' growing up and the cultural impact it had on the country. Watching 'Roots' was not the cool remove of reading about slavery in a book or hearing about it in class. It became something that swept people along.
I didn't know I was a good director, and I mean that sincerely. I had done a film a long time ago called 'Cold Around the Heart.' Nobody saw it, and it didn't turn out the way I wanted to.

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