Gordon Parks (born November 30, 1912) was an innovative African American. Best remembered for his Life magazine photo essays, journalist/activist, part-time musician and an early contributor to the Blaxploitation genre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaxploitation) thus the first African American to write, direct and score a Hollywood film.
Personally, Gordon Parks was one of my favorite 20th century photographers. I remember reading that he was asked to join the Black Panthers back in the 60’s. He refused and stated that he was not going to join a political group, but would make his political statements through the lens of his camera. I was saddened when he passed away in March of 2006. I read his obituary in the New York Times – what a life! The obituary also detailed his four secrets of being an authentic Renaissance Man. Sound advice for future leaders:
· Work Hard
· Challenge Conventional Wisdom
For you film trivia buffs, the original Shaft was the movie he directed.