Raised by a single mom on the rough West Side of Chicago, Robert Townsend transcended his environment to become an actor, writer, director, comedian, producer and ultimately, the President and CEO of the Black Family Channel.
As the second oldest of four children, Townsend entertained his mother doing impressions of TV personalities, including Jimmy Stewart, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Alfred Hitchcock and Bill Cosby. His remarkable talent eventually caught the attention of Chicago’s Experimental Black Actors Guild X-Bag Theatre, and he soon became a stand-up comedian at The Improvisation, New York’s premier comedy club. Hollywood came calling, and Townsend found himself performing on television comedy specials, including "Rodney Dangerfield: It’s Not Easy Bein’ Me" and "Uptown Comedy Express." Then came roles opposite Denzel Washington in A Soldier’s Story, Diane Lane in Streets of Fire and Kevin Costner in American Flyers.
When Townsend became an independent filmmaker, things really started happening. Without formal film education or outside funding (he used his own credit cards), Townsend co-wrote, directed and starred in the critically acclaimed Hollywood Shuffle, followed by the inner-city fable The Meteor Man (which starred James Earl Jones and Eddie Griffin). The popular soul musical, The Five Heartbeats, reminiscent of 60s R&B groups was his next cinematic accomplishment. Townsend went on to direct many amazing performers, including Eddie Murphy, Halle Berry, Martin Landau, Louis Gossett, Jr. and Beyonce Knowles. In addition to recounting these funny and moving experiences, Townsend teaches audiences to empower themselves, discusses the image of African Americans in Hollywood and talks about how to find success.
The energetic and gregarious Townsend always makes time to participate in humanitarian efforts. As a longtime speaker for the United Negro College Fund, his concern for inner-city youth takes him across the country to inspire young people to follow their dreams. As a testament to his versatility, Townsend shares his business expertise with various Fortune 500 companies. During the first five months of his tenure as President and CEO of Productions for the Black Family Channel, he produced eight new television programs.
All American Speakers Bureau is a full-service talent booking agency providing information on booking Robert Townsend for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on Robert Townsend speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next live or virtual event.
Please Note: All American Speakers Bureau is a full-service talent booking agency providing information on booking Robert Townsend for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on Robert Townsend speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next live or virtual event.
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