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Game Changer

Charles King Is Changing the Color of Hollywood—and Making Money Doing It

The former William Morris Endeavor partner was behind last year’s Oscar darling Fences with his production company, Macro Ventures.
Illustration: Sam Kerr

“I always had an eye for talent,” Charles King insists. As a kid growing up in the Atlanta area, he’d watch Siskel and Ebert with his mother and then analyze the movies himself, reading more reviews afterward to see how the critics’ impressions compared with his. In college, at Vanderbilt University, he sought out modeling and acting jobs and helped his classmates do the same.

It was a photographer who first suggested that King, a political science major, consider entertainment law. While studying at Howard University in the mid-1990s, King looked to CNN founder and hometown hero Ted Turner and BET creator Robert Johnson for inspiration and developed a 10-year plan to become a mogul in his own right—and, more important, to make the industry less white in the process.