Celebrating creative black trailblazers for #BHM; meet…
Name: F. Gary Gray
Born: July 17, 1969
Creative Discipline: Film Maker
Based in: New York
Gray, isn’t a name that resonates in the same way as Hitchcock or Spielberg, but at 43 years old his directorial credits speak volumes.
Gray began his career in 1989 when he appeared unaccredited in the satire comedy film “Major League”. Three years later, he directed the music video for Ice Cube's "It Was a Good Day." The video was a literal adaptation of the lyrics and subsequently he went on to direct further videos for Ice Cube, as well as artists such as Cypress Hill, Outkast, Dr. Dre, and Queen Latifah.
At 24, Gray directed his first film, the urban comedy “Friday” with rapper-producer Ice Cube and Chris Tucker. Next he directed the heist picture, “Set It Off”, with Jada Pinkett and Queen Latifah. He then went on to direct “The Negotiator”. The film starred Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey and Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson, and earned Gray both Best Film and Best Director awards at the 1998 Acapulco Film Festival.
Gray is also known for “The Italian Job”, an action-thriller starring Academy Award winner Charlize Theron and Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg. Gray garnered the Best Director award at the 2004 Black American Film Festival for his work on the film, which surpassed the $100 million mark in the domestic box office.
“A Man Apart” (2003), “Be Cool” (2005), and “Law Abiding Citizen” (2009) are also his, along with a number of music videos from artists far and wide.
Gray received The Ivan Dixon Award of Achievement from the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Centre and was named one of the “50 Best and Brightest African Americans Under 40” by Black Enterprise magazine. He was honoured by the African American Film Critics Association with their 2004 Special Achievement Award and was recognized by the Artist Empowerment Coalition with the Artist Empowerment Award that same year.