Robert Townsend is often referred to as one of the “Godfathers of Independent Film.” In 1987, Townsend wrote, directed, produced, and starred in his feature debut, the critically acclaimed, Hollywood Shuffle, a satire depicting the trials and tribulations of black actors in Hollywood, which is newly released on Blu-ray through the Criterion Collection. Townsend next directed the highest-grossing stand-up comedy concert film of all time, Eddie Murphy Raw, followed by The Meteor Man, which is heralded as Hollywood’s first Black superhero film, and the popular soul musical, The Five Heartbeats. Other films include B*A*P*S, The Holiday Heart, Carmen: A Hip Hopera, In the Hive and th3 documentary Making The Five Heartbeats. In television, Townsend created, starred in, and executive produced The Parent ‘Hood, which successfully ran for five seasons on the WB, after which he became President and CEO of Production for The Black Family Channel (BFC). Recently, Townsend has directed episodes of The Last O.G., Colin in Black & White and The Wonder Years.
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