Raised in South Central Los Angeles, director and producer F. Gary Gray successfully moved from a music video career to filmmaking. Starting off working for BET, Gray consistently shot his music videos in 35 mm for hip hop and rap superstars. His video for TLC's "Waterfalls" was voted Best Video of the Year at the MTV Music Video Awards. He also won several video awards for "Fantastic Voyage" by Coolio and "It Was a Good Day" by Ice Cube. Gray continued to work with Ice Cube for his directorial debut Friday, a comedy that was made for three million dollars and grossed nearly ten times that amount. His next feature was Set It Off, an action drama about four women who become bank robbers to escape the ghetto. In 1998, he moved on to big-budget action for The Negotiator, starring Samuel L. Jackson. The next year he moved to television to direct Ryan Caulfield: Year One, a short-lived Fox drama about a rookie cop. In 2003, Gray's projects included the Vin Diesel action flick A Man Apart and the crime drama The Italian Job, starring Mark Wahlberg.
Biography by Andrea LeVasseur
- Grew up in South Los Angeles.
- Started his career directing music videos for artists like Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige and Stevie Wonder.
- Directed TLC's music video "Waterfalls," for which he won a MTV Music Video Award in 1995.
- Recipient of The Ivan Dixon Award of Achievement from the Black Hollywood Education; the Special Achievement Award from the African American Film Critics Association; and the Artist Empowerment Award from the Artist Empowerment Coalition.
- With the success of The Fate of the Furious (2017), became the first African American director to achieve over 1 billion dollars at the box office.