He attended the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
He had a small role as the character Detroit J in the 2003 film Baadasssss!
He was married six times, including to actress Akosua Gyamama Busia from 1996 to 1997. He had a total of seven children; his daughter Cleopatra appeared in Baby Boy.
He directed hip-hop star Ice Cube in his first film role, playing the lead character Doughboy in Boyz n the Hood.