I was the oldest of five children, each about a year apart, and my mother, bless her heart, had her hands full.

Some of the most provocative TV that I'm inspired by is in the U.K. You guys take it for granted, but in America, we can't do it.

I drank from colored water fountains and from the white water fountain just to see what it was like when I was a kid. What shocks me is that these kids today don't realize that this happened in many of our lifetimes.

I don't read the reviews, the blogs, or anything else. Instead, I feel the audience when I show the film.

Putting on a movie is like going to war - for me, at least. It's all about time; time is money, and we don't have it. So it's all about getting to know each other intimately quickly. You are with family members that you like or don't like, but you can't leave them because you're stuck with them.

I thought I could write. So it was my intention to start off as a writer. But I wasn't really great at delivering the word at the end of the day.

I'm not really vegan. I'm vegan-ish. I have a piece of lamb every now and then.

When you have a lot of siblings, you always do something to feel special.

I was always in trouble. I was mischievous. And movies were always a part of my world.

The ratings board is completely different when it comes to film versus the television arena.

When I make movies, I don't ever go out there to please anyone other than myself. I never try to make a film for the masses. I just try to tell my story.

Some of my friends don't have a cell phone. Patti LaBelle doesn't have a cell phone.

'Empire' was a very traumatic experience for me. It was very schizophrenic, and it wasn't what I expected it to be.

I had trained myself not to go to the bathroom throughout my elementary and junior high school years because I was bullied. And you don't understand why you're being bullied, so you just suppress it.

I have twins that I didn't want to have the life that I had. I didn't have a great life growing up.

'Push' had a story, 'The Paperboy' story you could just throw up in the air and shoot holes through the book because the story wasn't as strong. But I felt the characters were stronger in 'The Paperboy'; they were vivid.

I don't know - I haven't seen any of my movies after I finish them. I leave the editing room; I don't go back.

When I was young, I went to a church where the lighter-skinned you were, the closer you sat to the altar.

I don't know whether everybody likes the films that I do. I know that I love them, and I believe the way that I raise my kids that they will love them, and that's what most important to me.

I love actors, and I'm very protective of them. I trust them. It's a mutual trust.

Most of my friends are dead. I watched friends die in my arms at 5, 6, 8. When I grew up, the rest of my friends died of AIDS.

When people don't like the film, I can take a bullet. I don't mind you talking about me, but I'm protective of my actors, because they bared their soul for me.

I wanted to make a black 'Dynasty.'

With TV, you're in people's houses every night. And you have so much time to tell stories. I don't know why I didn't do it before.

My earliest experience was reading Edward Albee's 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' at 8, you know, with a bunch of kids on my steps - on the stoops - and knowing that I wanted to direct them saying the lines. I don't really know how to articulate that 'cause there wasn't someone to show me.

I didn't have the sensibilities of your ordinary filmmaker, let alone your ordinary African-American filmmaker. My heroes were John Waters, Pedro Almodovar, and actors that were part of that world.

The rules are: The only ego is the film, and you have to serve the film.

I don't profess to be Shonda Rhimes by any stretch of the imagination, or Dick Wolf. They're icons. I'm a filmmaker.

If you really spend time with movies, it's three years of your life from beginning to end. I started out planting the seed with 'Monster's Ball' about independent cinema and raising money and that whole thing as a producer, and then it becomes easier for me.

I went from off-off Broadway. I would direct plays in Baldwin Hills. Almost Tyler Perry-like, really trying to express myself in that and not really knowing how to, knowing acting in story, but not really knowing how to technically hold a camera.

I worked at Warner Bros. for a while. I was the head of the minority talent casting. It was like pre-Spike Lee and post-blaxploitation era.

My work is therapeutic: 'Monster's Ball,' 'Woodsman' and 'Shadowboxer,' because I don't go to therapy, and I sort of live life through my films.

My mom had five kids. And she came home after working three jobs, and I'd rub her feet. We'd all rub her feet. We were lucky to get any time with her.

I knew that I'd end up directing because I'm so hands-on with my films.

I come from a family of domestics. I think most African-Americans of my age do. They were trusted by their bosses. I have met so many white people that spent more time with their nannies than they have with their own parents.

Rarely do celebrities and actors speak up for what they believe in.

When you're paying everybody nothing, I mean, they have homes to pay for. And my movies are like putting on theater. Nicole Kidman is at craft services, and John Cusack is moving furniture; there are no egos. The only ego is the story.

I've met Shonda Rhimes a few times, and certainly she's an inspiration for me in television.

While I am not a musician, I love music. I have over 15,000 songs on my iPod. Everything from hard core rap to the soundtrack from the original 'Cinderella.'

Every African-American I know has two faces. There's the face that we have for ourselves and the face we put on for white America for the places we have to get to.

At 19, I was in the streets making money. I was surviving.

My partner, Danny Strong, came to me with this idea of telling a story about my life and merging that with music and the hip-hop world. He wrote 'The Butler' and originally wanted to do 'Empire' also as a movie.

I've had all types of beautiful girls tell me that they ugly when they look in the mirror, as if it's someone else's reflection they see.

I don't want to sell my soul to Hollywood - to just make run-of-the-mill stuff.

America is fickle. You never know what they're going to go for.

I think it's very important that we don't sound like militants. Often what we do is we give a comment, and because it comes across with passion, then we're 'angry black people.'

I want to learn. I want to stretch my muscles as a director and work under different circumstances.

I don't work with fear, and I don't work with actors that are fearful.

In L.A., I was a talent manager for many years. I represented many African-American actors. After a while, I became disheartened over the shortage of roles for African Americans.