His first novel, Platitudes, was published in 1988 and reissued by Northeastern University Press in 2003, along with his 1989 essay "The New Black Aesthetic". He is also the author of the novels Home Repairs (1993) and Right Here, Right Now (1999), which received an American Book Award. His latest book is Bedtime Stories: Dispatches from the Frontlines of Single-Fatherhood (2008), a memoir of his life as a single father of two.
His work for the screen includes the Emmy nominated The Tuskegee Airmen, and Good Fences, starring Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg, which was shortlisted for the PEN award for Best Teleplay of the year, and was nominated for a Black Reel award. In 1994, he co-wrote The Inkwell under the pen name "Tom Ricostronza".
His essays have appeared in The New York Times, Playboy, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and GQ, among other places. He is a regular blogger on The Huffington Post and lives in Manhattan, where he is an Assistant Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Film.