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How Reginald Hudlin’s creative risk-taking has shaped black—and pop—culture

From directing classics like ‘House Party’ to writing ‘Black Panther’ comics (and creating Shuri), Reginald Hudlin has done it all his way—and you can too.

How Reginald Hudlin’s creative risk-taking has shaped black—and pop—culture
[Photo: Leon Bennett/WireImage via Getty Images]
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Listen to the latest episode of Fast Company’s podcast Creative Conversation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, RadioPublic, Google Play, or Stitcher.

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Digging into Reginald Hudlin’s résumé is like the most inspiring rabbit hole you could possibly tumble down.

Most people know Hudlin as the director of such classic ’90s films as House Party and Boomerang. And while he’s been consistent on the directing front, most recently with his Netflix doc The Black Godfather, about music industry legend Clarence Avant, Hudlin also served as the first president of entertainment for BET in the early 2000s, where he developed popular shows including Sunday Best and the BET Hip-Hop Awards. He’s also produced highly regarded films and TV shows including Django Unchained and The Boondocks, and he’s written seminal story arcs for Marvel’s Black Panther comic book series, including cocreating everyone’s favorite little sister, Shuri.

Basically, Reginald is a superhero in his own right for creativity.

In this episode of Fast Company‘s podcast Creative Conversation, Hudlin explains how creative risk-taking not only led to personal breakthroughs but shaped black culture and pop culture at large.

“Typically, if I follow my gut, you get House Party or Boomerang or Black Panther. And when I do the smart thing, that’s when projects fail,” Hudlin says. “People go, ‘Oh man, I’m not going to sell out.’ I’ve tried to sell out. And you know what? It doesn’t work for me. I’ve just found I have to do what I believe in. If I believe in it, no matter how improbable the concept is, it tends to succeed very well. So that makes decision-making very clear: Just do what you believe in—period.”

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Listen to the latest episode of Fast Company’s podcast Creative Conversation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, RadioPublic, Google Play, or Stitcher.

About the author

KC covers entertainment and pop culture for Fast Company. Previously, KC was part of the Emmy Award-winning team at "Good Morning America," where he was the social media producer.

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