Cheo Hodari Coker
Writer/producer Cheo Hodari Coker's career as an entertainment journalist gave him entry into the film and television world, where he oversaw such respected series as "Southland" (NBC/TNT, 2009-2013) and "Ray Donovan" (Showtime, 2013- ) before assuming showrunner duties on "Luke Cage" (Netflix, 2016- ). Born December 12 in Storrs, Connecticut, Coker was the nephew of playwright and screenwriter Richard Wesley, who penned the Sidney Poitier-Bill Cosby comedy features "Uptown Saturday Night" (1974) and "Let's Do It Again" (1975), and his wife, author Valerie Wilson Wesley. Coker attended the prestigious Hotchkiss School and graduated cum laude in 1990 before studying writing at Stanford University. After gaining his degree in 1994, Coker joined the writing staff at the Los Angeles Times, where he covered popular music and in particular, the hip-hop scene. In 1997, he penned a cover story for <i>Vibe</i> about the death of rapper the Notorious B.I.G. which attracted national attention. Coker left the Times that same year to freelance for a variety of publications, including the <i>Village Voice</i> and <i>The Source</i>, while also pursuing a career as a screenwriter. He penned several feature scripts, including a thriller with his uncle which was optioned by director John Singleton, but found greater success with his journalism, which by 2003 included <i>The Life, Death, and Afterlife of The Notorious B.I.G.</i>. His expertise on the performer's life led to a co-writing credit on the biopic "Notorious" (2009), which effectively launched his career as a screenwriter and producer. Coker served as writer and co-producer on the critically acclaimed police drama "Southland" and worked in a similar capacity on several other crime-oriented dramas, including "NCIS: Los Angeles" (CBS, 2009- ) and "Ray Donovan." In 2015, he was announced as executive producer and showrunner of "Luke Cage," a small-screen adaptation of the long-running Marvel Comics series about a wrongly imprisoned man who developed superpowers to fight crime.