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Robert Townsend

Award-Winning Filmmaker & Former CEO of the Black Family Channel

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 Robert Townsend Biography

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 premiere 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—all the while entertaining and inspiring attendees.

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. On his storied career, Townsend says: “In order to reach the stars, you must set your sights on the moon.”

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Videos
Speaking Topics
  • Robert Townsend: Shakespeare, Pimps and Hollywood

    Acclaimed director, writer and actor Townsend will take you on a hilarious rollercoaster ride through life’s failures, roadblocks and triumphs. In this riotous one-man show, Townsend recounts growing up on Chicago’s rough West Side. You’ll hear about how he escaped gangbangers, thugs and pimps by running home to watch TV and hone impressions of popular actors. He blossomed into a young theater actor and then a New York City comedian—and learned life lessons that changed him forever. In this performance, Townsend shares his Hollywood journey. He’ll recount how he: funded his first film entirely on credit cards while running from the police; screened his film Hollywood Shuffle in a disastrous way for Eddie Murphy; attended Frank Sinatra’s 77th birthday party; found himself heckled by Don Rickles; and almost lost his life while meeting Elia Kazan. You’ll also hear about the phone call from Sidney Poitier that nearly broke his heart. This unforgettable evening will inspire the dreamer in all of us.

  • Robert Townsend: From the Hood to Hollywood

    Growing up in a rough neighborhood is a disadvantage to some. Others, like Townsend, used his environment as a motivator to escape. Each day after school, he ran home—past the pimps, dealers and gangbangers—to watch television. He connected with the amazing stories he saw coming through that little black and white TV, and preferred the TV fantasies to the harsh realities of the West Side of Chicago. In fact, he watched so much TV, his family nicknamed him “TV Guide.” Townsend discovered that he had a gift to do impressions of the actors he saw on television (over 30 voices). In fact, his talent revealed itself in elementary school while reading the classic “Oedipus Rex.” One day, he dazzled the class with his ability to transform effortlessly into a character, and in that moment, he knew he was going to be in show business. Townsend has gone on to act, write, direct and produce television shows and films, including projects starring Academy Award winners Halle Berry, Denzel Washington and Michael Clarke Duncan, as well as a who’s who of comedy superstars, like Eddie Murphy, Keenan Ivory Wayans and Chris Tucker. Without formal film education or outside funding, Townsend became part of Hollywood legend when he used his credit cards to finance his first film—a satire depicting the trials and tribulations of African American actors in Hollywood. The film of course, was the critically acclaimed Hollywood Shuffle, which he co-wrote with Keenan Ivory Wayans, and starred in, directed and produced. Townsend’s body of work truly shows his range as an artist. From comedies such as Eddie Murphy Raw; B*A*P*S with Halle Berry; musicals like Carmen: A HipHopera starring Beyonce; The Natalie Cole Story with Natalie Cole; dramas like 10,000 Black Men Named George, which garnered Charles Dutton an Image Award for best supporting actor; as well as Holiday Heart, in which Townsend directed Alfre Woodard in a Golden Globe-nominated performance. Additionally, Townsend created, starred, produced and directed the first African American superhero action-comedy The Meteor Man and produced the beloved film, The Five Heartbeats Townsend. For his efforts to improve portrayals of African Americans in film and television, he has been nominated for over 30 NAACP Image Awards. Forever the visionary, Townsend even ran a small television network called the Black Family Channel and created over 15 original series as President and CEO. Today, he continues to create films and TV shows—as well as lecture on “Images of Color in Hollywood,” “The Spirit of an Entrepreneur” and “How to Develop and Create Stories from the Script to the Screen.” Townsend knows that he wouldn’t have gotten where he is today without faith, determination and strength. In this presentation, he discusses how he got out of the inner city and created the life he wanted. The famous funnyman tailors his talks to each organization; but no matter which type of audience attends, they are sure to be inspired and changed by his uplifting positive message.

News
FAQs
  • HOW TO BOOK Robert Townsend?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Robert Townsend for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Robert Townsend, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Robert Townsend or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Robert Townsend?

    Booking fees for Robert Townsend, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Robert Townsend, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Robert Townsend?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Robert Townsend for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Robert Townsend for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Robert Townsend or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Robert Townsend or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

Robert Townsend

Award-Winning Filmmaker & Former CEO of the Black Family Channel

Speaking Fee:
Categories:

Robert Townsend Biography

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 premiere 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—all the while entertaining and inspiring attendees.

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. On his storied career, Townsend says: “In order to reach the stars, you must set your sights on the moon.”

Robert Townsend Videos

  • Robert Townsend On 'The Five Heartbeats' Documentary, Whitney ...
    Dec 13, 2018 ... Subscribe NOW to The Breakfast Club: http://ihe.art/xZ4vAcA Get MORE of The Breakfast Club: ▻ WATCH MORE: ...
  • Cinematic Pioneer Robert Townsend Speaks on New Documentary ...
    Dec 10, 2018 ... RobertTownsend #TheFiveHeartbeats #SwayIntheMorning #SwaysUniverse Subscribe to Sway's Universe for More...
  • ICONTALKS® Presents: Robert Townsend | 2018 Black Male ...
    Jul 12, 2018 ... ICONTALKS® Presents: Robert Townsend | 2018 Black Male Excellence. ICONTALKS®. Loading... Unsubscribe from ICONTALKS®? Cancel

Robert Townsend Speaking Topics

  • Robert Townsend: Shakespeare, Pimps and Hollywood

    Acclaimed director, writer and actor Townsend will take you on a hilarious rollercoaster ride through life’s failures, roadblocks and triumphs. In this riotous one-man show, Townsend recounts growing up on Chicago’s rough West Side. You’ll hear about how he escaped gangbangers, thugs and pimps by running home to watch TV and hone impressions of popular actors. He blossomed into a young theater actor and then a New York City comedian—and learned life lessons that changed him forever. In this performance, Townsend shares his Hollywood journey. He’ll recount how he: funded his first film entirely on credit cards while running from the police; screened his film Hollywood Shuffle in a disastrous way for Eddie Murphy; attended Frank Sinatra’s 77th birthday party; found himself heckled by Don Rickles; and almost lost his life while meeting Elia Kazan. You’ll also hear about the phone call from Sidney Poitier that nearly broke his heart. This unforgettable evening will inspire the dreamer in all of us.

  • Robert Townsend: From the Hood to Hollywood

    Growing up in a rough neighborhood is a disadvantage to some. Others, like Townsend, used his environment as a motivator to escape. Each day after school, he ran home—past the pimps, dealers and gangbangers—to watch television. He connected with the amazing stories he saw coming through that little black and white TV, and preferred the TV fantasies to the harsh realities of the West Side of Chicago. In fact, he watched so much TV, his family nicknamed him “TV Guide.” Townsend discovered that he had a gift to do impressions of the actors he saw on television (over 30 voices). In fact, his talent revealed itself in elementary school while reading the classic “Oedipus Rex.” One day, he dazzled the class with his ability to transform effortlessly into a character, and in that moment, he knew he was going to be in show business. Townsend has gone on to act, write, direct and produce television shows and films, including projects starring Academy Award winners Halle Berry, Denzel Washington and Michael Clarke Duncan, as well as a who’s who of comedy superstars, like Eddie Murphy, Keenan Ivory Wayans and Chris Tucker. Without formal film education or outside funding, Townsend became part of Hollywood legend when he used his credit cards to finance his first film—a satire depicting the trials and tribulations of African American actors in Hollywood. The film of course, was the critically acclaimed Hollywood Shuffle, which he co-wrote with Keenan Ivory Wayans, and starred in, directed and produced. Townsend’s body of work truly shows his range as an artist. From comedies such as Eddie Murphy Raw; B*A*P*S with Halle Berry; musicals like Carmen: A HipHopera starring Beyonce; The Natalie Cole Story with Natalie Cole; dramas like 10,000 Black Men Named George, which garnered Charles Dutton an Image Award for best supporting actor; as well as Holiday Heart, in which Townsend directed Alfre Woodard in a Golden Globe-nominated performance. Additionally, Townsend created, starred, produced and directed the first African American superhero action-comedy The Meteor Man and produced the beloved film, The Five Heartbeats Townsend. For his efforts to improve portrayals of African Americans in film and television, he has been nominated for over 30 NAACP Image Awards. Forever the visionary, Townsend even ran a small television network called the Black Family Channel and created over 15 original series as President and CEO. Today, he continues to create films and TV shows—as well as lecture on “Images of Color in Hollywood,” “The Spirit of an Entrepreneur” and “How to Develop and Create Stories from the Script to the Screen.” Townsend knows that he wouldn’t have gotten where he is today without faith, determination and strength. In this presentation, he discusses how he got out of the inner city and created the life he wanted. The famous funnyman tailors his talks to each organization; but no matter which type of audience attends, they are sure to be inspired and changed by his uplifting positive message.

FAQs on booking Robert Townsend

  • How to book Robert Townsend?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Robert Townsend for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Robert Townsend, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Robert Townsend or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Robert Townsend?

    Booking fees for Robert Townsend, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Robert Townsend, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Robert Townsend?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Robert Townsend for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Robert Townsend for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Robert Townsend or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Robert Townsend or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Robert Townsend is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Robert Townsend for your event is available upon request. Robert Townsend generally travels from and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Melvin Van Peebles, Will Packer, Spike Lee, Charles Dutton and Omarosa Manigault. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Robert Townsend for an upcoming event.

Robert Townsend Speaker Videos

  • Robert Townsend On 'The Five Heartbeats' Documentary, Whitney ...
    Dec 13, 2018 ... Subscribe NOW to The Breakfast Club: http://ihe.art/xZ4vAcA Get MORE of The Breakfast Club: ▻ WATCH MORE: ...
    Cinematic Pioneer Robert Townsend Speaks on New Documentary ...
    Dec 10, 2018 ... RobertTownsend #TheFiveHeartbeats #SwayIntheMorning #SwaysUniverse Subscribe to Sway's Universe for More http://bit.ly/SubscribeSU ...
  • ICONTALKS® Presents: Robert Townsend | 2018 Black Male ...
    Jul 12, 2018 ... ICONTALKS® Presents: Robert Townsend | 2018 Black Male Excellence. ICONTALKS®. Loading... Unsubscribe from ICONTALKS®? Cancel
    On Story 811: A Conversation with Robert Townsend - YouTube
    Jun 26, 2018 ... Writer, director, producer, actor, and comedian Robert Townsend has over 30 years of experience working in film and television. With credits ...

Robert Townsend Speaking Topics

  • Robert Townsend: Shakespeare, Pimps and Hollywood

    Acclaimed director, writer and actor Townsend will take you on a hilarious rollercoaster ride through life’s failures, roadblocks and triumphs. In this riotous one-man show, Townsend recounts growing up on Chicago’s rough West Side. You’ll hear about how he escaped gangbangers, thugs and pimps by running home to watch TV and hone impressions of popular actors. He blossomed into a young theater actor and then a New York City comedian—and learned life lessons that changed him forever. In this performance, Townsend shares his Hollywood journey. He’ll recount how he: funded his first film entirely on credit cards while running from the police; screened his film Hollywood Shuffle in a disastrous way for Eddie Murphy; attended Frank Sinatra’s 77th birthday party; found himself heckled by Don Rickles; and almost lost his life while meeting Elia Kazan. You’ll also hear about the phone call from Sidney Poitier that nearly broke his heart. This unforgettable evening will inspire the dreamer in all of us.

  • Robert Townsend: From the Hood to Hollywood

    Growing up in a rough neighborhood is a disadvantage to some. Others, like Townsend, used his environment as a motivator to escape. Each day after school, he ran home—past the pimps, dealers and gangbangers—to watch television. He connected with the amazing stories he saw coming through that little black and white TV, and preferred the TV fantasies to the harsh realities of the West Side of Chicago. In fact, he watched so much TV, his family nicknamed him “TV Guide.” Townsend discovered that he had a gift to do impressions of the actors he saw on television (over 30 voices). In fact, his talent revealed itself in elementary school while reading the classic “Oedipus Rex.” One day, he dazzled the class with his ability to transform effortlessly into a character, and in that moment, he knew he was going to be in show business. Townsend has gone on to act, write, direct and produce television shows and films, including projects starring Academy Award winners Halle Berry, Denzel Washington and Michael Clarke Duncan, as well as a who’s who of comedy superstars, like Eddie Murphy, Keenan Ivory Wayans and Chris Tucker. Without formal film education or outside funding, Townsend became part of Hollywood legend when he used his credit cards to finance his first film—a satire depicting the trials and tribulations of African American actors in Hollywood. The film of course, was the critically acclaimed Hollywood Shuffle, which he co-wrote with Keenan Ivory Wayans, and starred in, directed and produced. Townsend’s body of work truly shows his range as an artist. From comedies such as Eddie Murphy Raw; B*A*P*S with Halle Berry; musicals like Carmen: A HipHopera starring Beyonce; The Natalie Cole Story with Natalie Cole; dramas like 10,000 Black Men Named George, which garnered Charles Dutton an Image Award for best supporting actor; as well as Holiday Heart, in which Townsend directed Alfre Woodard in a Golden Globe-nominated performance. Additionally, Townsend created, starred, produced and directed the first African American superhero action-comedy The Meteor Man and produced the beloved film, The Five Heartbeats Townsend. For his efforts to improve portrayals of African Americans in film and television, he has been nominated for over 30 NAACP Image Awards. Forever the visionary, Townsend even ran a small television network called the Black Family Channel and created over 15 original series as President and CEO. Today, he continues to create films and TV shows—as well as lecture on “Images of Color in Hollywood,” “The Spirit of an Entrepreneur” and “How to Develop and Create Stories from the Script to the Screen.” Townsend knows that he wouldn’t have gotten where he is today without faith, determination and strength. In this presentation, he discusses how he got out of the inner city and created the life he wanted. The famous funnyman tailors his talks to each organization; but no matter which type of audience attends, they are sure to be inspired and changed by his uplifting positive message.

Robert Townsend News

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Speakers Similar to Robert Townsend

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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