The History of Black Filmmakers Who Changed Hollywood

For Black actors and directors, the decade of the 2010s was crucial. The decade featured innovative narratives featuring remarkable Black heroes, the first Oscar victories for Black directors, and a hashtag that revolutionized the film industry. Following the revelations of #OscarsSoWhite, which displayed the Hollywood foundation as a persistent perpetrator of marginalizing minorities, movie studios began to prioritize more diverse stories with younger voices.

With his two horror films, Get Out (2017) and Us (2019), Jordan Peele broke box office records and became one of Time Magazine’s most important global figures. In the meantime, Steve McQueen, the director of 12 Years a Slave, created Oscar history by becoming the first Black British producer and director to win Best Picture. Although some contend that the 2010s were a historic decade for Black cinema, the true groundwork for the genre was laid much earlier. Similar to how NetBet Casino has revolutionized the gaming industry, these filmmakers changed the landscape of cinema.

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Pioneers of Black Cinema

Over the years, several significant Black artists have contributed to the success of filmmakers like Steve McQueen and Jordan Peele. It is important to look back at the Black entertainers who began it all in film history, even as we have grown accustomed to the last ten years of Black filmmakers. Four titans who have contributed to Black Hollywood include:

Oscar Micheaux

Oscar Micheaux, recognized for being the first African American to make a feature-length film in 1919, was a pioneer in the field of Black cinema. Born to former slaves in southern Illinois, Micheaux moved to Chicago to work as a Pullman porter for railroads, one of the best jobs available for African Americans at the time. But Micheaux’s ambitions as a writer were higher. He wrote several books, the most well-known of which was The Homesteader, which he self-published. Oscar Micheaux was offered the chance to sell the film rights to The Homesteader by two independent producers, but he turned them down in favour of following his route to adapt his book into a motion picture. Oscar Micheaux is recognized today as the first Black director.

Spike Lee

With his $175K film She’s Gotta Have It, which he shot in just two weeks, Spike Lee made a big splash in the film industry. With a $7 million box office, the film is regarded as one of the most successful of 1986. Over the past forty years, Spike Lee has continued to expand his already impressive filmography by directing, producing, writing, and starring in movies. Early in his career, Spike Lee made films that examined racial injustice and the everyday lives of African Americans. Being unapologetically forthright in his criticism of how African Americans are treated by society, Spike Lee has emerged as one of the most influential figures in American popular culture and filmmaking.

Sidney Poitier

Wesley Morris, a culture critic for The Times, claims that Sidney Poitier is the greatest American film star. For his performance in Lilies of the Field, Sidney Poitier became the first Black actor awarded the Oscar for Best Actor. Another Black actor would not win Best Actor at the Academy Awards for 38 years. There have only ever been four Black winners in that category. Poitier had to work hard to establish himself as an African-American actor, but his inner strength and resolve eventually made him one of Hollywood’s most respected actors.

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