Melvin Van Peebles is an American actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, and composer. He is the father of actor and director Mario Van Peebles.
Prior to entering Hollywood, Van Peebles directed the French film “Story of a Three Day Pass”. His first Hollywood film was the 1970 comedy “Watermelon Man”, about a casually racist but well meaning white man who suddenly wakes up black and finds himself alienated from his friends, family, and job. Van Peebles then wrote and directed the independent feature “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song”, which is credited with starting the blaxploitation genre. Van Peebles was recently the subject of a documentary entitled “How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It)”.
Source: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melvin_Van_Peebles