Home » Beyond the screen: Danny Glover’s impactful legacy in activism and entrepreneurship

Beyond the screen: Danny Glover’s impactful legacy in activism and entrepreneurship

A deep dive into Glover's contributions beyond acting—highlighting his activism, theatre founding, and support for veganism

by Adenike Adeodun

Danny Glover, born on July 22, 1946, is an acclaimed American actor, producer, and leading activist. He inherited his fervent passion for activism from his parents, Carrie (Hunley) and James Glover, who were actively involved in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), advocating for equal rights. 

When he was younger, Glover struggled with epilepsy but was able to conquer the condition by the time he turned 35. He attended San Francisco State University (SFSU) in the late 1960s, where he played a key role in the Black Students’ Union. Alongside the Third World Liberation Front and the American Federation of Teachers, Glover participated in a momentous five-month student-led strike that led to significant changes. The strike resulted in the establishment of the First Department of Black Studies and the School of Ethnic Studies in the United States and set a record as the longest student walkout in the country’s history.

After dropping out of San Francisco State University, Glover attended the Black Actors’ Workshop of the American Conservatory Theater, where he honed his craft and prepared for a successful career ahead.

Glover embarked on his theatrical journey at San Francisco’s esteemed American Conservatory Theater, a renowned hub for aspiring actors. His craft was further refined under the mentorship of Jean Shelton at the Shelton Actors Lab, also in San Francisco. Glover himself has credited a significant part of his development as an actor to Shelton’s invaluable guidance, as he shared on “Inside the Actors Studio.” Driven by a profound passion for acting, Glover made the pivotal decision to resign from his city administration role, dedicating himself fully to the stage. This bold move signaled the start of an illustrious career, prompting him to move to Los Angeles in pursuit of broader acting opportunities.

Glover’s acting career soared following his breakthrough role in “Escape from Alcatraz” (1979), propelling him to stardom with memorable performances in a series of blockbuster hits and critically acclaimed films. His diverse roles in “Lethal Weapon,” “Places in the Heart” (1984), “The Color Purple” (1985), “Witness” (1985), “To Sleep with Anger” (1990), “Grand Canyon” (1991), “Bopha!” (1993), “Angels in the Outfield” (1994), “The Royal Tenenbaums” (2001), “Dreamgirls” (2006), “Shooter” (2007), “2012” (2009), “Death at a Funeral” (2010), “Beyond the Lights” (2014), “Sorry to Bother You” (2018), and “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (2019) showcase his versatility and depth as an actor.

Despite his remarkable success, Glover has faced challenges, notably his passionate yet unrealized project to produce a film biography of Toussaint Louverture, a key figure in the Haitian Revolution. Even with financial support from Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, the project encountered obstacles. However, Glover’s unwavering commitment to telling meaningful stories remains evident through this effort.

Beyond his cinematic achievements, Glover is also celebrated for his vigorous activism. He has supported and been involved with numerous organizations, including the Algebra Project, the Black AIDS Institute, Walden House, and Cheryl Byron’s Something Positive Dance Group, reflecting his dedication to social change. Glover’s activism has sometimes sparked controversy, such as his arrest for disorderly conduct during a protest against the humanitarian crisis in Darfur and his advocacy against racial discrimination in cab services, drawing from his own experiences as a former San Francisco cab driver to effect policy changes in New York City. Glover’s career is a testament to his talent and his commitment to leveraging his platform for the greater good.

Glover’s dedication to labor rights is evident from his support for various unions, such as the United Farm Workers and UNITE HERE. He showed his commitment to social justice by advocating for union workers in Ohio who faced pay cuts. He has also been actively involved in the Occupy Oakland movement, which further highlights his enduring commitment to activism and social change.

His extensive career in the entertainment industry and activism has earned him recognition on a global scale. In 2010, Starr King School for the Ministry awarded him a Doctorate of Humane Letters in absentia in recognition of his long history of activism. Glover has shown commendable efforts in supporting various organizations, including the United Farm Workers, UNITE HERE, The Algebra Project, The Black AIDS Institute, and his work for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. He has also been an advocate for literacy, civil rights, and against unfair labor practices.

On Sept. 7, 2011, Glover was honored with a tribute at the Deauville American Film Festival in France for his contributions to film and activism. In Havana, on Dec. 29, 2016, the Cuban Council of State awarded him the Cuban National Medal of Friendship for his solidarity with the Cuban 5 during their incarceration in the United States.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) recognized Glover’s humanitarian efforts and impact on the film industry by awarding him the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Governors Awards ceremony on March 25, 2022. In 2023, Glover was inducted into the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia, further cementing his legacy. Additionally, IndieWire acknowledged him as one of the best actors never to have received an Academy Award nomination, highlighting his distinguished career in acting.

Over the years, Glover has built an empire for himself, showcasing his commitment to art, the Black community, and activism. Billionaire Africa features his thriving enterprises below;


In 1994, Danny Glover and Ben Guillory co-founded the Robey Theatre Company in Los Angeles, naming it after the trailblazing African American actor and activist, Paul Robeson. The Robey Theatre Company is dedicated to presenting new plays that delve into the African American experience as well as reimagining classic works. It celebrates the depth, beauty, and complexity of Black culture and history, which encompasses both inspirational triumphs and profound struggles. The company provides a nurturing space for these important stories to be shared.

Over the past three decades, the Robey Theatre Company has produced groundbreaking films that uniquely narrate African American stories. Notable productions include “Souls on Fire” by Patrick Sheane Duncan (1996), “Bee-Luther-Hatchee” by Thomas Gibbons (1999), “Yohen” by Phillip Kan Gotanda (1999), “For the Love of Freedom, Parts 2 & 3” by Levy Lee Simon (2002 and 2004), and “Bronzeville” by Tim Toyama and Aaron Woolfolk (2009).

The company has been recognized with numerous accolades, highlighting its contribution to theatre and the arts. These awards include the 2001 NAACP Image Award for Costume Design in “For the Love of Freedom, Part I: Toussaint (The Soul) Rise and Revolution,” nominations for the 2002 Ovation Awards for Ensemble Cast and Lighting Design in “The Last Season,” a 2003 Ovation Award nomination for World Premiere Play for “For the Love of Freedom, Part II: Dessalines (The Heart) Blood and Liberation,” and several 2006 LA Weekly Theater Award nominations and wins for “Permanent Collection,” including Production Design, Lighting Design (Ian Garrett), Set Design, and Sound Design.


Glover has a strong connection with Vegan Mob, a plant-based restaurant in Northern California known for its delicious vegan barbecue and soul food. As a committed vegan, he became a frequent customer after the restaurant opened and became fond of its flavorful dishes. His relationship with the eatery deepened when the owner, Toriano Gordon, sought to increase its visibility and invited Glover to participate in a promotional commercial without compensation. In an interview with SFGate, Gordon shared Glover’s supportive response: “I’m proud of you; you’re doing something positive, and I want to support you.”

Gordon and his wife wrote the script for the commercial, which allowed for a lot of improvisation. Glover came to the restaurant to shoot the commercial, during which Nobe, a director from Noble Cinema Productions, suggested the creative title “Lethal Vegan,” a playful reference to the “Lethal Weapon” series in which Glover starred.

Glover has not only supported Vegan Mob through promotional efforts but has also invested in the growth of the business and partnered in the establishment’s Los Angeles branch. He has shown his support not only through endorsement but also through financial and entrepreneurial commitment.


Danny Glover, a distinguished speaker on the AAE roster, has a notable engagement fee reflecting his expertise and demand. His fee for live events ranges from $30,000 to $50,000, highlighting the value of in-person engagements. For virtual events, the fee is set between $20,000 and $30,000, accommodating the growing preference for digital formats. 


In 2005, Glover co-launched Louverture Films. The production company’s objective is to create films, series, and interactive projects that are artistically compelling and also convey a strong social message. The company is named after Toussaint Louverture, the legendary leader of the Haitian Revolution, famous for his ability to find opportunities amid great challenges. Louverture Films’ goal is to produce historically significant, socially impactful, and high-quality content.

The company is committed to building partnerships with creatives from the global south and ensuring the representation of historically underrepresented communities in the United States, both on and off camera. This dedication has made Louverture a vital player in international storytelling, acclaimed for its innovative collaborations with renowned directors, artists, writers, game designers, and cinematographers worldwide.

Louverture Films has a team of executive producers, producers, and post-production supervisors who are skilled at managing productions, launching platforms, and overseeing content infrastructure. The company has collaborated with a variety of production and distribution partners, including industry giants such as Participant Media, Plan B, Anonymous Content, and streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, as well as broadcasters like HBO, BBC, and Arte. With this extensive network, Louverture is able to share powerful, globally resonant stories with a broad audience.

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