While Don Cheadle is certainly an established name in terms of his work in front of the camera, very few know that he is equally well versed behind the camera. The producer of several different creative works , Cheadle’s work behind the camera is significant in that it highlights the challenges that black creatives have had in pursuing different creative roles in Hollywood. Despite the countless numbers of successful African American actors, the number of black directors and producers of films supported by major studios remains slim. When looking at the top 300 directors of all time, based on lifetime box office gross, there are only 10 black directors represented.
The lack of black directors on the all time top grossing list leads one to ask a number questions regarding the state of Hollywood and the state of the movie viewing American public. Despite the fact that there have been commercially successful movies that were directed by black creatives and featured predominately black casts in the past (Precious, Dreamgirls, Boomerang etc) access to the resources to support such films is limited at best. As a result of the reluctance of studios to support these ventures, we have seen a rise in small budget and independently produced films by black film makers. With advancements in digital means of production and distribution, we are seeing black film makers produce creative content that is aesthetically on par with big budget films while remaining focused on diverse topics which may not have gotten the green-light from bigger studios.