Justin Simien to Direct ‘Hollywood Black’ Docuseries for MGM+

justin simien hollywood black

MGM+ has greenlit, Hollywood Black, a four-part docuseries that will delve into the experience of Black creatives in Hollywood over the course of a century.

The series will be an adaptation of historian Donald Bogle’s 2019 book Hollywood Black with Justin Simien attached to direct the series. The docuseries will chronicle the careers of pioneering Black directors, actors, producers, and writers who fought for their place in Hollywood history.

“Hollywood, like many American industries, was built on Black culture and Black talent, even though it excluded Black people from many of its origin stories,” said Simien. “This series seeks to illuminate present-day controversies, from #OscarSoWhite to the almost regular ‘blackface reveal’ of prominent white celebrities, told through the lens of Black individuals throughout Hollywood history.”

The series comes from Simien’s Culture Machine, Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi’s Significant Productions, and RadicalMedia. It will be executive produced by Simien and Kyle Laursen from Culture Machine, Whitaker and Yang Bongiovi from Significant Productions, and Dave Sirulnick, Stacey Reiss, and Jon Kamen from RadicalMedia. Amy Goodman Kass, the showrunner of I Love You, You Hate Me, will serve as showrunner, while Simien directs.

Whitaker commented, “We love collaborating with visionary filmmakers, so it’s an honor to team up with Justin Simien/Culture Machine and Radical Media on Hollywood Black, especially alongside such immense support from Michael Wright and MGM+. Through this meaningful exploration of Black history in cinema, we’re excited to celebrate its future.”

MGM+ head Michael Wright commented, “Hollywood Black, like other recent MGM+ docuseries, is an entertaining and thoughtful look at a vital part of American culture, examining the evolution of Black cinema and the talented artists who built it. It is a timely and relevant look at the Black experience in Hollywood.”

MGM+ has recently worked with Imagine Documentaries and R.J. Cutler’s This Machine for Murf the Surf, and with B17 Entertainment for Amityville: An Origin Story. The new docuseries will be an important addition to MGM+’s lineup, shedding light on the contributions of Black creatives to the entertainment industry over the past century.

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