Best Black Movie Directors

Tuesday, April 12 by Shawn Lealos

The best black movie directors have built a body of work that stands as some of the best movies of all time. These men have won numerous awards for their work and have created movies that speak to an entire generation. While some create specific genre movies, others have found success in mainstream blockbusters as well.

  1. Spike Lee. Spike Lee remains one of the most popular black movie directors. He became a star with his breakout film, “Do the Right Thing” and has never looked back. He has been nominated for two Oscars, although he was overlooked for his best movie, the biopic “Malcolm X.”
  2. John Singleton. John Singleton got his start with the urban movie, “Boyz n the Hood.” From that success, he became the go-to guy for gritty, violent urban movies. More recently, he directed the sequel to “The Fast and the Furious” and then worked with Mark Wahlberg on the family drama “Four Brothers.”
  3. Tim Story. Tim Story hit it big when he directed the Ice Cube movie “Barbershop.” After being recognized as one of the up-and-coming black movie directors, Story remade the foreign film “Taxi” before attacking the superhero genre with both “Fantastic Four” movies.
  4. Chris Rock. While known more for his acting and comedy, Chris Rock has also dabbled in film directing. His first feature film was the comedy “Head of State,” in which he plays the first black president. His second effort was the underrated romantic comedy, “I Think I Love My Wife.”
  5. Antoine Fuqua. Fuqua got his start with the fun Chow Yun Fat action thriller “The Replacement Killers.” He became known as one of the best black movie directors when he directed Denzel Washington in the actor’s first Best Leading Actor Oscar role for “Training Day.”
  6. F. Gary Gray. F. Gary Gray started his career with one of the best cult films of any black movie director, “Friday.” He has followed that effort with a number of action flicks starring Sam Jackson, Jamie Fox and Vin Diesel. His recent movie was the revenge thriller “Law Abiding Citizen.”
  7. Hughes brothers. Albert and Allen Hughes careers started off with a bang when they directed “Menace II Society.” Since that time, they have only directed four other feature films. After the adaptation “From Hell,” the brothers took nine years off before returning with the Denzel Washington movie, “The Book of Eli.”
  8. Forest Whitaker. Whitaker is another man better known for his acting, winning an Oscar for “The Last King of Scotland.” He made his directorial debut in 1995 with “Waiting to Exhale” and has since directed two other movies, the lightweight “Hope Floats” and “First Daughter.”
  9. Keenan Ivory Wayans. Wayans began his career with the variety comedy show “In Living Color.” Following that, he has stuck with low brow comedies, mainly starring his family. His best movie is “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” but he also took a stab at the first two “Scary Movie” films.
  10. Mario Van Peebles. Peebles has been directing since 1989. He remains a well known black movie director, getting his major break with the 1991 thriller “New Jack City.” In 2003, he made one of his more personal films in “Baadasssss!,” dedicated to his father.