Top 10 Influential and Underrated Creative Black Pioneers celebrated by GameCargo [Linwood’s Picks]

Dwayne McDuffie

We, at GameCargo, believe in celebrating Black pioneers of many fields and giving those of them, especially those who are still alive, the roses that they deserve. Below you will find Linwood Storm’s Top 10 personal favorite picks, in no order from least to greatest. Make sure to let us know any creative Black pioneers who you feel also deserve to be highlighted in the comments below!

“Oscar Devereaux Micheaux (January 2, 1884 – March 25, 1951) was an African-American author, film director and independent producer of more than 44 films. Although the short-lived Lincoln Motion Picture Company was the first movie company owned and controlled by black filmmakers. Micheaux is regarded as the first major African-American feature filmmaker, a prominent producer of race film, and has been described as “the most successful African-American filmmaker of the first half of the 20th century”. He produced both silent films and sound films.”
“Melvin Van Peebles (born Melvin Peebles; August 21, 1932) is an American actor, filmmaker, playwright, novelist and composer. He is most well known for creating and starring in the film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. He is the father of actor and director Mario Van Peebles.”
“Frederick Robert Williamson (born March 5, 1938),  also known as The Hammer, is an American actor and former professional American football defensive back who played mainly in the American Football League during the 1960s. Williamson is perhaps best known for his film career, starring as Tommy Gibbs in the 1973 crime drama film Black Caesar and its sequel Hell Up in Harlem. Williamson also had other notable roles in other 1970s blaxploitation films such as Hammer (1972), That Man Bolt (1973), and Three the Hard Way (1974).”
“Rudolph Frank Moore (March 17, 1927 – October 19, 2008), known as Rudy Ray Moore, was an American comedian, singer, actor, and film producer. He created the character Dolemite, the pimp from the 1975 film Dolemite and its sequels, The Human Tornado and The Return of Dolemite. The persona was developed during his early comedy records. The recordings often featured Moore delivering profanity-filled rhyming poetry, which later earned Moore the nickname “the Godfather of Rap.” Actor and comedian Eddie Murphy portrayed Moore in the 2019 film Dolemite Is My Name.”
Floyd E. Norman (born June 22, 1935) is an American animator, writer, and comic book artist. Over the course of his career, Norman has worked for a number of animation companies, among them Walt Disney Animation Studios, Hanna-Barbera Productions, Ruby-Spears, Film Roman and Pixar.
“Dwayne Glenn McDuffie (February 20, 1962 – February 21, 2011) was an American writer of comic books and television, known for producing and writing the animated series Static Shock, Justice League Unlimited and Ben 10, and co-founding the pioneering minority-owned-and-operated comic-book company Milestone Media, which focused on underrepresented minorities in American comics.”
“Jackie Ormes (August 1, 1911 – December 26, 1985) was an American cartoonist. She is known as the first African-American woman cartoonist and creator of the Torchy Brown comic strip and the Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger panel.”
“Michael Alyn Pondsmith is an American roleplaying, board, and video game designer. He is best known for his work for the publisher R. Talsorian Games, where he developed a majority of the company’s role-playing game lines since founding the company in 1982. Pondsmith is credited as an author of several RPG lines, including Mekton (1984), Cyberpunk (1988) and Castle Falkenstein (1994). He also contributed to the Forgotten Realms and Oriental Adventures lines of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, worked in various capacities on video games, and authored or co-created several board games. Pondsmith also worked as an instructor at the DigiPen Institute of Technology.”
“Gerald Lawson (December 1, 1940 – April 9, 2011) was an American electronic engineer. He is known for his work in designing the Fairchild Channel F video game console as well as leading the team that pioneered the commercial video game cartridge.”
“Malcolm Azania (born 1969), is a Kenyan-Canadian novelist, teacher, writer, and journalist. He is primarily known by his pen name, Minister Faust. In addition to writing science fiction, he is a playwright, journalist, teacher, and poet. He has also written video games. He was writer in residence at the University of Alberta, 2014-2015.”