When it comes to the flashing lights of Hollywood, it’s easy to pay attention to actors and celebrities.
But Charles D. King is a star of another kind – a behind the scenes boss.
The former Hollywood agent, whose clientele has included every from Oprah Winfrey to Missy Elliott, is building his own empire with Macro, a media company launched in 2015, which creates and funds, films, shows, digital projects and brands focused on multicultural perspectives.
King made headlines this fall after raising $150 million dollars (that’s right- million) for Macro’s newest projects, delivering audiences with award-winning films like Fences, Netflix’s Mudbound, and his latest venture, Roman J. Israel, Esq. starring Oscar-Winner Denzel Washington.
In an interview with theGrio at a NYC screening of Roman J. Israel, Esq., King opened up about why he left his top agency job at WME, to pursue his dream of running a media company:
“I was blessed to work with some of the most amazing artists and filmmakers and media personalities. But ultimately I realized the true power was going to the other side by being able to bring capital to bear,” King told theGrio.
“To be able to tell stories from communities authentically; that was going to happen by bringing capital rather than having to go to the marketplace and ask for permission to tell our own stories.”
After strategically taking a low-paying job in the mailroom at his former agency WME, he worked his way up over the course of 12 years, becoming the first African-American partner in the firm’s history.
Then he stepped out to pursue his biggest dream yet by creating his own brand.
“The ultimate dream is for it to be a business and a brand that will be around 100 years in the future when I’m long gone. That just like we have Disney and FOX, you’ll have Macro.”
“You’ll have a media company… that will have helped to uplift and economically empower communities and communities of color, while lifting culture in a really smart and thoughtful way.”
King, who is a graduate of Howard University Law School and Vanderbilt University, said he went to law school inspired by the legacies of pioneers like Thurgood Marshall and others in civil rights.
“I look at it as being in entertainment but also having my own version of activism as well.”
King’s latest film, Roman J. Israel, Esq., which he executive produced opens in theaters today. Check out more of our interview with King and stars Denzel Washington and Carmen Ejogo on theGrio.com.
Natasha Alford is a digital host and Deputy Editor of theGrio. Follow her latest news and entertainment updates on Twitter and Instagram @natashasalford.