Best African-American Film Directors

Wednesday, March 30 by Mallorie Greene

The best African-American film directors in this article show passion and dedication to their craft, releasing some of the greatest movies depicting Black culture. Some are controversial, others are lighthearted, but either way, these directors created films that will be forever memorable in cinema's history.

  1. Tyler Perry This actor, director and screenwriter is a true testament that dreams do come true and a man who went from rags to riches. Once homeless, Perry continually showed motivation with his talent and soon had the chance to direct his screenplays "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" and "Madea Goes to Jail." These successful plays eventually became theatrical releasing and became box office hits. Tyler also directed and produced successful sitcoms "House of Payne" and "Meet the Browns." Tyler Perry has proven to be one of the best African-American films directors in Hollywood.
  2. John Singleton Unlike most young directors who have a hard time becoming successful in Hollywood, African-American film director John Singleton got his first majo break at 24 after graduating at University of Southern California and directing the smash gangster, film, "Boyz N Da Hood." Not only had the movie received critical acclaim, Singleton nominated for a Best Director Academy Award. He later on directed the movie, "Higher Learning" which featured his then girlfriend, ex-supermodel Tyra Banks, and other movies including "Four Brothers" and "2 Fast 2 Furious."
  3. Gordon Parks Multitalented African-American film director, novelist, photographer and journalist Gordon Parks begin his career as a photographer depicting images of poverty in African-American communities, then began a successful photographer career at LIFE magazine, snapping famous images of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali. In 1969, Parks made his first directorial debut with ” The Learning Tree" based on the self-titled autobiographical he wrote in 1964. In 1971, Gordon parks directed the classic blaxploitation film "Shaft," which became one of the biggest movies of the year, following two sequels, "Shaft's Big Score" and Shaft in Africa."
  4. Spike Lee Outspoken director Spike Lee reigns as one of the greatest African-American film directors in Hollywood. Lee made his debut as a director and screenwriter for the 1986 film "She's Gotta Have It" and went on to more blockbuster hits with Oscar-nominated film "Do the Right Thing," the biographical film "Malcolm X" and several other films, including "4 Little Girls." Although Lee never won an Oscar for his successful movies, here is hoping for that triumph.
  5. Lee Daniels Gay African-American film direction Lee Daniels great success came after producing the 2002 film "Monster's Ball," which earned actor Halle Berry her first Oscar. Two years later, Daniels directed the independent film "The Woodsman," which received nominations at the Sundance Film Festival; it was not until 2009 that Daniels directed the novel-based movie "Precious," which garnered him great attention and success surrounding the film. Lee's other credentials include his own successful movie productions "Lee Daniels Entertainment."

COMMENTS

  1. March 30, 2011 2:22 pm

    RoK

    You’re confusing Tyler Perry’s success with the quality of his films. His success is huge and indisputable. Also indisputable is the low-quality of his work. John Singleton, Spike Lee and Lee Daniels have all received Academy Award nominations for their work. The Academy is the highest honor of the filmmaking world. The fact that Perry’s work has been completely ignored—combined with the criticism he gets from both black and white critics—is proof that he is far from a great director.