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Bill Duke

Actor - Writer
Director- Producer

Bill Duke is an Actor, Director and Producer in Hollywood with more than 40 years of experience on screen and behind the camera. His acting credits include recent television and feature film roles On HBO/Max, Mr. Duke appeared in No Sudden Move with Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brandon Frazier, and Julia Fox. He was also in Tyler Perry’s The Oval, Black Lightning, the critically acclaimed Mandy, and the highly anticipated Stephen Soderbergh film High Flying Bird.  Bill Duke is also known for roles in Predator, American Gigolo, Car Wash, Action Jackson, Commando, Menace II Society, Bird on a Wire, Get Rich or Die Tryinʼ, X-Men 3, Henry's Crime, The Big Bang, Starsky & Hutch, Charlieʼs Angels, Fastlane, Karen Sisco, and Lost. Bill is known for his directing prowess and agility in television and film as the first black director on numerous television shows. His credits for film and television include, Falcon Crest, Fame, Hill Street Blues, and PBSʼ The Killing Floor, for which he won the Sundance Special Jury Award in 1985.

The accolades continued with a feature film directorial debut in 1991 for A Rage in Harlem, which was an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival and a contender for the prestigious Palme dʼOr. This global recognition led to further opportunities including directing feature films: Sister Act 2, Deep Cover, Hoodlum, The Cemetery Club, Cover, Not Easily Broken, and the documentary Dark Girls and Light Girls, which aired on OWN and succeeded as one of the most successful programs on the network. Most recently, Bill directed the feature film, Created Equal and is currently on the documentaries, What is a Man, and What is a Woman. Bill's autobiography, “Bill Duke: My 40-Year Career on Screen and Behind the Camera”, was released in November 2018.

Throughout the course of his career, he has been recognized by prestigious leaders and institutions for his work in television and film. He was appointed to the National Endowment of Humanities by President Bill Clinton and the Board of the California State and Film Commission by Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has also served on the Board of Trustees at the American Film Institute and as the Time Warner Endowed Chair in the Department of Radio, Television, and Film at Howard University. He was also recognized by his peers with a Lifetime Achievement Tribute from the Directors Guild of America’s African- American Steering Committee in 2010.

In addition to working on creative projects in Hollywood, he created Duke Media Entertainment to bring quality "Edutainment" to audiences around the globe.  He has coined the word to symbolize entertainment that also includes and an educational element for its audiences. Formerly Yagya Productions, Duke Media has successfully produced critically acclaimed film and television content for more than 30 years.

Additionally, Duke Media is in process of expanding its brand through the development of new media technologies, i.e. cellphone apps, games, and virtual world experiences. Since the early 70s, Bill Duke along with industry veterans Michael Shultz and Gordon Parks, have long paved the way for the furtherance of African American actors, writers, directors, and producers in the entertainment and technology industries.

Giving back has been a large part of Bill's Hollywood legacy.  He runs the Duke Media Foundation, which for the last ten years has prepared youth for the future by exposing them to specific new media and financial literacy tools. This will enable them to compete, survive, and thrive. The economy is experiencing a paradigm shift far beyond film and TV to media. Film and TV are still important parts of the entertainment landscape, however new media content has shifted.  Bill encourages students to explore and master new technology as it emerges and evolves.

The Youth Media Camp is the inaugural project of the Duke Media Foundation. The camp is a training and educational program that teaches youth the trade and craft of media production which includes film and video production, screenwriting, producing, directing, editing, and the introduction to new social media platforms. In addition, the foundation teaches financial literacy, the distinction between the spending of a dollar and the use of a dollar.

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"The Journey"

A tale of human healing

"The Journey” written by Bill Duke is a coming of age story.  At the center of the narrative is “Nobody” who goes on a journey in pursuit of becoming somebody.  Upon his departure his parents equipped him with three crucial provisions for endurance.  They also give him an instructional road map on how to find what he is so desperately searching for. The journey takes “Nobody” up and down, over and under, near and far, and in circles.  Towards the end of the journey “Nobody” has a startling epiphany. He had been deaf and blind to the truth because of his disposition. Consumed with tears, the revelation draws him to his knees, and to closure. 


No matter who we are, black, white, purple, orange, green, young, or old, “The Journey” speaks to the child in each one of us. It is inspirational and a conversation starter.  The Journey’s message addresses issues and challenges relevant today such as, self-image, acceptance, bullying, tolerance, equality and more. 

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Works of the Invisible Man

Poetic prose written by the ever learning  Mr. Bill Duke

"Invisible Man” is an eclectic collection of poetic prose composed by the legendary Mr. Bill Duke.  The lyrics reminds of places we have all visited, perhaps not always literally, but at least in our minds.  We travel down to Harlem, visit mamas’ kitchen, and hang out with Bobby Jo, Freddie, and Brother Boo Boo them.  They talkin’ trash and shutin’ one another down.  We are summoned to recall ancestors who stood up and fought in the struggle for justice and equality, prompting us to ask, “Why can’t we?” At the same time, Mr. Duke provokes us to open our eyes to the reality of our country’s present struggles. 

“Invisible Man” undeniably makes you want to curl up at the feet of wisdom and beg, “Teach me.” Some poems make you laugh cause, “Did he really just say that?” Then you find yourself sayin,’ “I know you’re right!”  Then finally, you are blushing cause… well, you know the story.  “Invisible Man” is written with a rhythmic chill vibe that draws your attention and keeps you turning the pages. Bill uses transparent inflection, revealing the invisible man who had previously not been seen or heard. 

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Bill Duke: My 40-Year Career on Screen and behind the Camera is the memoir of a Hollywood original. In an industry that rarely embraces artists of color, Duke first achieved success as an actor then turned to directing. After helming episodes of ratings giants Dallas, Falcon Crest, Hill Street Blues, and Miami Vice, Duke progressed to feature films like A Rage in Harlem, Deep Cover, Hoodlum, and Sister Act 2. In this candid autobiography, Duke recalls the loving but stern presence of his mother and father, acting mentors like Olympia Dukakis, and the pitfalls that nearly derailed his career, notably an addiction to drugs. Along the way, readers will encounter familiar names like Danny Glover, Laurence Fishburne, Forest Whitaker, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Whoopi Goldberg.

From his Broadway debut in 1971 to the establishment of the Duke Media Foundation, which trains and mentors young filmmakers, Duke has been breaking the rules of what it means to triumph in the entertainment industry. Recalling pivotal moments in his life, Bill Duke: My 40-Year Career on Screen and behind the Camera is the story only Bill Duke could tell.

2021 Yagya Production Inc. Created by Destiny Publishings LLC.

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