John Ridley
Director and writer John Ridley attends Variety Studio Presented by Moroccanoil at Holt Renfrew during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2013 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Variety)

Who is John Ridley?

John Ridley is a screenwriter, novelist, journalist, television producer and television writer. You would recognize his credits in famous titles such as Red Tails and Undercover Brother. In fact, Ridley has been successful in Hollywood for many years.

But his screenplay adaption of 12 Years a Slave from the memoirs of Solomon Northup has taken his journey as a writer reflecting the black experience to new levels.

“It’s funny, over time if you’re fortunate, you build a nice career and you have these interesting moments and I would not, looking back, trade any of them — Red Tails12 Years a Slave and Undercover Brother,” Ridley told Southern California Public Radio. “People are sometime surprised I’ve done different kinds of things but on a morning like this, you look back and reflect and I’ve been very fortunate to have a career at all.”

Why is he on theGrio’s 1oo?

Ridley just won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work taking the tale of Northup, a free man who was held in the south as a slave, and transforming it into a narrative that has made the public think more deeply than ever about American slavery.

“This is our history and to move forward in it, we’ve got to learn, we’ve to grow and I’m very gratified that people are willing to sit and grow,” he told PBS of the impact his contributions have made.

What’s next for Ridley?

Ridley is gearing up for a potential new ABC television series called American Crime, which “follows the personal lives of the players involved in a racially charged trial as their worlds are turned upside down,” reports Ridley will write and executive produce a pilot for the drama, which has been ordered by the network.

We look forward to witnessing his vision become realized in yet another genre demonstrating the diversity of African-American lives.

Follow John Ridley on Twitter @john_ridley