Shelton Jackson Lee was born in Atlanta, but grew up in New York. At an early age, the filmmaker was keenly aware of his Africa American roots, and soon he began making amateur films when he was in college.
While Lee has won numerous accolades for his work, he's yet to earn himself an Oscar victory. That could all change, but let's look at some of the things he did along the way during his career.
Lee continues to create provocative films, exploring race relations, political issues, urban crime and violence.
Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads Was Lee's First Feature Film
Even in college, the aspiring director proved he had the tools to be someone big. While attending the Tisch School of Arts at New York University, Lee made his first film in 1982. The plot is straightforward and linear as Zack runs afoul with black mobsters and now faces their revenge.
He submitted the film as his master's thesis, eventually becoming the first student film to be showcased in Lincoln Center's New Directors New Films Festival. Lee took home a Student Academy Award and his father even composed the score.