Famous Black Directors

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Directors

 1 Spike Lee

Spike Lee
7
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: March 20, 1957
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Spike Lee is a celebrated and one of the most decorated American filmmakers of his generation. Most of his critically acclaimed films explore political issues, such as urban crime and poverty, colorism in the African-American community, and race relations. Four of his films have been selected for conservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

 2 Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 20, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States
Died: January 6, 2022

Sidney Poitier was a Bahamian-American actor who became the first Afro-Bahamian and Black male actor to receive an Oscar for Best Actor in 1964. In 2009, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His life and work inspired a couple of documentary films, including the 2008 film Sidney Poitier, an Outsider in Hollywood.

 3 Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 15, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Longview, Texas, United States
Forest Whitaker is best known for his Academy Award-winning performance as real-life dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. Fans also loved him in Rogue One and Ghost Dog. He is an advocate of the UN’s Global Goals and supports peace-building initiatives and programs that help war victims.

 4 Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 31, 1977
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States

American actress, Kerry Washington, attained fame when she starred in the television series, Scandal, which ran from 2012 to 2018. She was also commended for her role in the television film, Confirmation, and for the miniseries, Little Fires Everywhere. She has also acted in films like The Last King of Scotland, Django Unchained, Our Song, The Dead Girl and American Son.

 5 Michael Jai White

Michael Jai White
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 10, 1967
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Michael Jai White is an American martial artist and actor. When he portrayed Al Simmons in the film Spawn, White became one of the first black actors to play a major comic book superhero in the history of American film industry. Known for his martial arts skills, White has played leading roles in popular action films like Mortal Kombat: Legacy.

 6 Ryan Coogler

Ryan Coogler
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Famous As: Director
Birthdate: May 23, 1986
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oakland, California, USA

 7 John Singleton

John Singleton
4
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: January 6, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: April 28, 2019
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 8 LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton
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Famous As: Actor known for his Roles in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Reading Rainbow"
Birthdate: February 16, 1957
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Landstuhl, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Best known for his performances as Kunta Kinte in Roots and Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, LeVar Burton is also known for his 23-year stint as the award-winning host of Reading Rainbow. Though he initially aspired to be a Catholic priest, he doesn’t believe in any religion anymore.

 9 Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay
4
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: August 24, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, United States

 10 Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Malcolm-Jamal Warner
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Famous As: Known for His Roles as Theodore Huxtable on the NBC Sitcom the ‘Cosby Show’
Birthdate: August 18, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Jersey City, New Jersey, United States

 11 Mekhi Phifer

Mekhi Phifer
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 29, 1974
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Harlem, New York City, New York, United States
Mekhi Phifer is best known as Greg Pratt from the medical drama ER. He also starred with Eminem in the film 8 Mile. Fans also loved him in the series Lie to Me and Torchwood: Miracle Day, and as Tyrell Martin in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

 12 Jasmine Guy

Jasmine Guy
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 10, 1962
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Jasmine Guy gained recognition as Dina in the film School Daze. She also won six NAACP Image Awards for playing Whitley Gilbert-Wayne on A Different World, a spin-off of The Cosby Show. She has also played a recurring role in The Vampire Diaries and has released a few R&B hits.

 13 Phill Lewis

Phill Lewis
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Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: September 4, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Uganda
Phill Lewis is best known as Mr. Moseby from the series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and The Suite Life on Deck. Fans also loved him as Yes, Dear, Special Agent Oso, and Scrubs. He has also directed series such as Mike & Molly and 2 Broke Girls.

 14 Barkhad Abdi

Barkhad Abdi
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 10, 1985
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mogadishu, Banaadir, Somalia

Somali-American actor, Barkhad Abdi, is best known for his role in the film Captain Phillips, for which he received a British Academy Film Award. Born in Somalia, he relocated to USA after the Somali Civil War broke out. After working in a few odd jobs as a young man, he took up acting and soon found success.

 15 Yaphet Kotto

Yaphet Kotto
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 15, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

 16 Nate Parker

Nate Parker
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 18, 1979
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Norfolk, Virginia, USA

 17 Glynn Turman

Glynn Turman
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 31, 1947
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Glynn Turman is an American actor, filmmaker, and writer. In a career spanning over 60 years. Some of the notable characters that he has portrayed are: Lew Miles in the movie Peyton Place, Leroy Jackson in the film Cooley High, and Bradford Taylor in the sitcom A Different World. He has also won several awards like the NAACP Image Award.

 18 Lee Daniels

Lee Daniels
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Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: December 24, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

 19 Kevin Abstract

Kevin Abstract
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Famous As: Rapper Famous For His Debut Album 'MTV1987'
Birthdate: July 16, 1996
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Corpus Christi, Texas, United States

 20 Rashida Jones

Rashida Jones
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Famous As: Actress - Known for Her Roles in TV Comedies
Birthdate: February 25, 1976
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

An actress, director, writer, and producer, Rashida Jones is a multi-talented woman who first gained prominence as a TV actress. A Harvard University graduate, the bright young woman entered the entertainment industry in the mid-1990s and has since made a name for herself. She is the recipient of several awards including a Grammy.

 21 Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele
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Famous As: Actor, Comedian, Director
Birthdate: February 21, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

 22 John Kani

John Kani
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Famous As: Actor, Playwright, Director
Birthdate: August 30, 1942
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Brighton, Eastern Cape

John Kani is a South African actor, playwright, director, and author. He is best known for playing T'Chaka in American superhero films, such as Black Panther and Captain America: Civil War. One of the few South African actors to achieve international recognition, John Kani was included in the Top 100 Great South Africans list, which was published in 2004. 

 23 Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 2, 1948
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Evansville, Indiana, United States

 24 Colman Domingo

Colman Domingo
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 28, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

 25 Kim Wayans

Kim Wayans
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 16, 1961
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

 26 Ossie Davis

Ossie Davis
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Famous As: Former actor who appeared in films with wife Ruby Dee
Birthdate: December 18, 1917
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cogdell, Georgia, United States
Died: February 4, 2005

 27 Tasha Smith

Tasha Smith
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 28, 1971
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Camden, New Jersey, United States

 28 Clarke Peters

Clarke Peters
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 7, 1952
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

 29 David Ramsey

David Ramsey
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 17, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, USA

Best known for his roles in series such as Arrow and Dexter, David Ramsey is also a black belt in the martial art Jeet Kune Do and is well-versed in kickboxing and taekwondo, too. Apart from Arrow, he has played John Diggle/Spartan in three other series, including The Flash and Supergirl.

 30 Fred Williamson

Fred Williamson
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 5, 1938
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, USA

 31 Georg Stanford Brown

Georg Stanford Brown
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 4, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Havana, Cuba

Cuban-American actor Georg Stanford Brown of The Rookies fame had worked as a janitor to pay for his drama school. He incidentally met his wife at the same school. He won an Emmy for his direction in Cagney & Lacey and was nominated for two more for Hill Street Blues.

 32 Bill Duke

Bill Duke
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 26, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Poughkeepsie, New York, United States

 33 Adrian Lester

Adrian Lester
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 14, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Birmingham, England, UK

 34 Ivan Dixon

Ivan Dixon
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 6, 1931
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: March 16, 2008

 35 Sticky Fingaz

Sticky Fingaz
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Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: November 3, 1973
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, USA

 36 Keesha Sharp

Keesha Sharp
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 9, 1973
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, USA

 37 Nia DaCosta

Nia DaCosta
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Famous As: First African-American woman to have a film debut at number one upon opening weekend
Birthdate: November 8, 1989
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 38 Shaka King

Shaka King
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Famous As: For directing and co-writing the 2021 biopic Judas and the Black Messiah.
Birthdate: March 7, 1980
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

 39 Paula Jai Parker

Paula Jai Parker
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 19, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, USA

 40 Damien Dante Wayans

Damien Dante Wayans
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 15, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York

 41 Boots Riley

Boots Riley
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: April 1, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

 42 Tim Russ

Tim Russ
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 22, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Washington, District of Columbia, USA

 43 Damian Harris

Damian Harris
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Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: August 2, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London

 44 Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks
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Famous As: Photographer
Birthdate: November 30, 1912
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Fort Scott, Kansas, United States
Died: March 7, 2006

Gordon Parks was a writer, photographer, musician, and film director. He was the first Black American to direct and produce major motion pictures pertaining to the experience of slaves and African-Americans. He is credited with co-creating a new film genre called blaxploitation and his works have influenced filmmakers like Spike Lee. He is also credited with co-founding Essence magazine.

 45 Chip Fields

Chip Fields
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 5, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S

 46 Rick Famuyiwa

Rick Famuyiwa
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Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: June 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Laie, Hawaii, United States

Rick Famuyiwa is a Nigerian-American filmmaker and screenwriter. Some of his best-known works include the 1999 coming-of-age film, The Wood, 2002 romantic comedy movie, Brown Sugar, and 2015 coming-of-age film, Dope. Over the years, Famuyiwa has been vocal about the issues faced by African-Americans in the film industry and works hard to resolve such issues.

 47 Stephen McKinley Henderson

Stephen McKinley Henderson
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 31, 1949
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kansas City, USA

Best known for his work in the plays of August Wilson, actor Stephen McKinley Henderson has also impressed audiences with his roles in movies such as Lincoln and Dune. The Juilliard-educated actor has also been nominated for a Tony Award for his role in the play Fences.

 48 Antwone Fisher

Antwone Fisher
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: August 3, 1959
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, USA

 49 Ted Lange

Ted Lange
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 5, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oakland, California, U.S.

 50 Terri J. Vaughn

Terri J. Vaughn
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 16, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States