Black History Spotlight: East St. Louis native Reggie Hudlin shapes the future of Hollywood
ST. LOUIS – His movies inspired generations, his directing and producing are unmatched. East St. Louis native Reggie Hudlin has proven to Hollywood that having black narratives at the forefront of storytelling is crucial.
“When I first made House Party they said black teen movies won’t work, no one wants to see that, ” said Hudlin. “Then we made the movie and it made 10 times our money back. It was one of the most profitable movies of that decade”.
Before he created classic films like House Party in the 1990s or becoming the first Black producer for the Emmy Awards, Hudlin struck a cord by breathing life into one of the most successful superheroes of all time. He wrote the first 38 issues of volume 4 of “Black Panther” and continued to change how Hollywood viewed Black content.
“After writing for the Black Panther comic book I suggested that we should make the Black Panther into a movie. They said, we’ve never done a black superhero film, then boom it makes $1 billion,” said Hudlin.
Hudlin spoke honestly about his experiences in Hollywood and the entertainment industry’s long history of doubts when it comes to many black filmmakers, executives, and creators.
“It has been a challenge,” he said. I have been the “first” black man to do a lot in this business. You have to have mental discipline. You can not wait for someone to tell you can do it, you have to just do it.”
He explained while Black filmmakers are more celebrated in Hollywood in the 21st century, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
“I’m not discouraged when people say they don’t know about my ideas or work, that is always what I always hear right before I have a giant success,” said Hudlin.
Hudlin is not only a testament of strength and courage he’s a special beacon of hope that all black Americans are superheroes too.
Earlier this month the City of East St. Louis celebrated the success of Reggie Hudlin. Some members of the community took to social media and showed great honor to the modern Black Film Movement pioneer.