This Oakland-Born Film Producer Wants Black Creative and Executives to Greenlight Black Stories

Creating change at the root.

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    Music + Culture
  • Above
    Datari Turner attends BET Presents the American Black Film Festival Honors in Beverly Hills.
    (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for BET)

After getting a scholarship to Oklahoma State University, Datari Turner first set his sights on a professional football career. When his ambitions took a turn, he headed to Hollywood to pursue his other passion, film. As an independent producer, Datari boasts credits on both film and television projects, including six that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and 10 currently in development. But despite his career success, Datari recognizes the challenges people of color face to get their stories produced. Now he wants to change that, from the bottom up.

Above: Datari Turner, Niecy Nash and Sherri Shepherd attend the Second Annual ‘Celebrate The Culture II’ Celebrates Diversity In Hollywood Presented By PATRÓN Tequila at Avenue in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Vanessa Anderson)

According to the LA Times, “He is in advanced talks to establish an endowed producing program at the cinema, television, emerging media studies (CTEMS) program at Morehouse College in Atlanta, one of the Historically Black Universities and Colleges.

“Turner is on the board of the Blackhouse Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at amplifying Black creatives and executives in the industry. Through the years he has taught and spoken with young filmmakers at Sundance and USC. He has given master classes at Morehouse.

Datari Turner attends The Vulture Spot, Park City, Utah during the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
(Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Vulture)

“Given his own experience, he knew that the dearth of people of color occupying the upper echelons of the entertainment industry wasn’t due to a lack of talent or ambition but of access to opportunities—on top of socioeconomic barriers.

“The only way to change things is to change them at the root, and we’re creating a pipeline of people of color to be able to rise up the ranks,” Turner says.

Read more about Datari and his mission here.

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