10 Black Filmmakers Who Deserve More Respect

Ernest Dickerson

Best movies/TV show episodes: Juice (1992), Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight (1995), “Unconfirmed Reports" (The Wire, 2008), “What Lies Ahead" (The Walking Dead, 2011), “18 Miles Out” (The Walking Dead, 2012), “Beside the Dying Fire” (The Walking Dead, 2012)

Ernest Dickerson must be plenty thankful that he chose New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts as his desired institution in which he’d study film; it was at NYU that the Newark, NJ, native met classmate Spike Lee, with whom he forged a strong, fruitful working relationship. Lee called upon Dickerson to serve as cinematographer on several of his earlier films, including She’s Gotta Have It (1986), Do the Right Thing (1989), and Malcolm X (1992).

The same year that Malcolm X came out, Dickerson proved that he was capable of directing his own provocative, noteworthy material, with Juice, the NY-set answer to John Singleton’s Boyz N Da Hood starring a young Tupac Shakur.

Since then, however, Dickerson has indulged in his genre-heavy preferences, which he first exercised from 1984 through 1986, when he collected checks as a cinematographer on the horror anthology TV series Tales from the Darkside. In 1995, Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight, his gory dark comedy starring an on-the-verge Jada Pinkett, showed the filmmaker’s knack for gruesome splatter and palpable, shivery tension.

Working mostly in television these days, Dickerson is a regular on-call director for AMC’s The Walking Dead, responsible for the show’s exceedingly violent, and blood-soaked second season standouts “18 Miles Out” and “Beside the Dying Fire.” If the Emmy committee won’t give the man his justifiable props, we’ll gladly show Dickerson some love.

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