To say the list of openly gay, black filmmakers is a short one would be a rather dramatic understatement. The most prominent, of course, is Lee Daniels.
“Gay people see the world differently. As a black person, you see the world differently. It's a unique perspective,” he said to the Huffington Post in 2012. “When I make movies, it's from a very specific place, and it's layered in context. You see my life and are watching my world. If you look at my films, you see life through the eyes of a black, gay man.”
Born in Philadelphia, Christmas Eve, 1959, he told Arsenio Hall that he remembered feeling different at a young age.
“There was never a closet… My earliest memories were coming down the stairs in my mother's high heels at six years old while my dad's playing cards with the buddies.”
Daniels persevered through abuse from his father and other children (he told the Telegraph: “From kindergarten to eighth grade [13 years old], I could train myself not to go to the bathroom all day and then just run home at three o’clock, because in the school toilets I’d get beaten up.”) After selling a nursing agency he started, he started working as casting agent and manager, working on films like Purple Rain and managing stars like Wes Bentley.
In 2001, his production company, Lee Daniels Entertainment, released Monster’s Ball, earning Halle Berry an Oscar and launching his career into Hollywood superstardom.
See more highlights of Daniels’ work and share your thoughts, AFTER THE JUMP …