Dick Gregory was an icon for Black America. A comedian who used his considerable public platform for activism during the civil rights movement of the 60s, he was the rare entertainer who felt almost as at home on the couch of The Tonight Show as he did on the front lines of the fight for racial equity and justice. Comprised of stunning archival footage and contemporary interviews, Andre Gaines’ brilliant debut feature takes a close look at Gregory’s legacy, documenting his many personal reinventions throughout the decades, while hearing from the countless entertainers (Dave Chappelle & Chris Rock among them) who have been inspired by his blueprint. The film solidly tackles its mission to expose the work of this genius to a new generation, providing a caring and thrilling portrait of Black excellence against all odds. Executive Produced by Kevin Hart and Lena Waithe, The One and Only Dick Gregory shines a light on this inimitable man in a way that is long overdue. —Loren Hammonds
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Andre Gaines is a Los Angeles-based producer, writer and director whose credits include the HBO four-part documentary series, The Lady and the Dale, the remake of Stephen King’s Children of the Corn, Spike Lee’s Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, and the award-winning film Bill Nye: Science Guy. He will make his directorial debut at the Tribeca Film Festival with The One and Only Dick Gregory about the legendary comedian and activist, featuring Chris Rock, Kevin Hart, Wanda Sykes, W. Kamau Bell, Lena Waithe and Harry Belafonte. Andre and his wife Lauren Dandridge Gaines have two sons, Julian and Wesley.
Valerie began her producing career working for Dateline NBC, Trading Spaces and FOX’s Texas Justice. She entered scripted television in 2001 on the drama, Soul Food: The Series, and assisted renowned producers Bob Balaban and Amy Robinson with the indie hit Game 6. She went on to develop original programming for Chicago TV station, WJYS, before becoming a producer for the No.1 daytime show, Judge Judy. She recently executive produced The Purple Onion, Glorious Empire and the animated feature, The Immortal Warrior. Currently, Valerie splits her time between Houston and LA where she’s producing The One and Only Dick Gregory.
Award-winning writer, creator, producer, actor, and CEO Lena Waithe continues to lead the cultural revolution in Hollywood with creativity, diversity, and charisma. Waithe expertly taps into emerging societal trends with a sharp wit, speaking to myriad experiences from her unique perspective while challenging audiences to think outside of conventional norms. With her impressive eye for discovering and spotlighting underrepresented voices, Waithe navigates the intersection of business and entertainment in conjunction with her own production company, Hillman Grad Productions. The company passionately fights against the status quo by giving marginalized storytellers the platform and opportunity to access the industry, while allowing them to tell their stories. The comprehensive slate includes projects at Netflix, BET, Disney, Amazon, Universal, Focus and MGM. Hillman Grad Productions goes above and beyond to provide a platform and fellowship for diverse voices on the rise through the Hillman Grad Mentorship Lab. The lab offers opportunities for marginalized storytellers to connect, grow, and accelerate their careers in television and film through personalized instruction from industry professionals in the fields of television writing, screen acting, and executive development. While Hillman Grad Productions has already mentored roughly 600 actors, 120 writers/directors, and 30 producers, the 2021 Class will be the first group to go through the official Hillman Grad Mentorship Lab. Previous Mentorship Program “alums” are working and excelling throughout the industry such as Tiffany Johnson who, alongside Waithe, were awarded a 2020 TRIBECA X AWARD recognition for “Best Series” for their anthology series, GIRLS ROOM.
Cortney M. Wills is the Entertainment Director at theGrio and host of their latest podcast initiative, Acting Up. Born and raised in Los Angeles, the Medill alum began her career at Time Inc. and has since covered music, film, television, and pop culture for numerous publications including Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, MTV News, JET, AOL, and more. Much of her work at theGrio focuses on holding Hollywood accountable and examines how stories about our people, our culture, and our communities are being told on screens big and small. She’s currently based in Los Angeles where she resides with her husband and children.
Andre Gaines is a Los Angeles-based Producer, Writer and Director whose credits include the HBO four-part documentary series, The Lady and the Dale, the remake of Stephen King’s Children of the Corn, Spike Lee’s Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, and the award-winning film Bill Nye: Science Guy. He will make his directorial debut at the Tribeca Film Festival with The One and Only Dick Gregory about the legendary comedian and activist, featuring Chris Rock, Kevin Hart, Wanda Sykes, W. Kamau Bell, Lena Waithe and Harry Belafonte. Andre and his wife Lauren Dandridge Gaines have two sons, Julian and Wesley.