It is imperative that minorities who want to be apart of the entertainment industry have role models to look up to. Its a tough business, so seeing people that look like you who managed to make it is quite reassuring. I would love to work with any of these people some day, because they have been so influential in my life. Here is a list of black creators who inspire me.
I feel like Spike Lee is the reason any black kid ever picked up a video camera, in the first place. He brought black storytelling to the mainstream with films like Do the Right Thing (1989), Malcolm X (1992) and He Got Game (1998). Through his films he examines race relations, colorism, the black experience, urban crime, poverty; the list goes on. For over 40 years this man has excelled in filmmaking and has garnered numerous awards. He is the reason I majored in Mass Communications in college and want to be apart of the entertainment industry.
As the reigning Queen of network television, Shonda Rhimes continues to produce hit series after hit series. Known as the creator of shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal, Rhimes has earned a reputation as being one of the hardest working and most successful women in Hollywood. With a slew of upcoming projects in the works, she proves that the whole world is Shondaland and we’re just lucky enough to be here.
As an actor, producer, director, actor, comedian, rapper, singer and songwriter, Donald Glover is an octuple threat. I could only dream of being so skilled in so many different crafts. He has written for shows such as 30 Rock, Community, The Simpsons and even recently created and stars in his own comedy series, Atlanta. When he isn’t creating visual content, he is releasing music under his rap persona, Childish Gambino. Donald Glover is the definition of an artist.
Rising to fame through her YouTube series, Awkward Black Girl, Issa Rae has cut through black stereotypes with refreshing takes on the black experience. I became an instant fan of hers after watching her critically acclaimed HBO series, Insecure. I also love how she has used her platform to uplift other black artists by sharing their work with her large following. Their is nothing I love more than an artist who cares about the community. I can’t wait to see what else this brilliant woman has in store for the world.
Similar to a young Spike Lee in the way he tackles social injustice and the black experience, Ryan Coogler is a film director who has the potential to be one of The Greats. He has directed and co-written the successful films Fruitvale Station (2013) and Creed (2015) as well as the highly anticipated superhero film, Black Panther (2018). In a short period of time, he’s become one of the most sought after directors in the industry and I became a fan of his when I found out that he originally went to college to study chemistry. Now that’s what I call a career change.
Ava DuVernay made history when she became the first black female director to have a film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. A social activist and advocate for black empowerment and representation, DuVernay is an example of what the future of Hollywood directors could look like. From her critically acclaimed films Selma (2014) and 13th (2016), to her hit television series Queen Sugar, she is producing quality content on a continuous basis. She should be a role model for an artist in any craft because her dedication transcends film. Her success continues to draw attention to Hollywood’s need for better representation, both in front of and behind the camera.