On Sunday February 25, 2018, ABFF Ventures hosted its annual American Black Film Festival Honors at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. The red carpet was full of rising stars as well as veteran and legendary stars, many of which showed their support for the record-breaking film Black Panther.
Before the show, I had the pleasure of going live on Facebook as well as the opportunity to chat with Grammy-Winner Charlie Wilson, Grammy-Nominated singer Kenny Lattimore, honorees actor Billy Dee Williams and comedian Tiffany Haddish, Elise Neal, Melyssa Ford and Timon Kyle Durrett.
For those of you who have never heard of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), it is an annual event founded by Jeff Friday in 1997, dedicated to showcasing quality film and television content by and about people of African descent. The festival is committed to the belief that Black artists and content creators deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts. It was Mr. Friday’s mission to promote diversity in the motion picture industry and strengthen the Black film making community by sharing resources, providing education, promoting artistic collaboration, and assisting in career development. For over two decades the ABFF has been considered the standard-bearer of excellence in independent Black cinema, which premieres the works and support the careers of many of today’s most successful artists, including Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), Will Packer (Girls Trip), Issa Rae (Insecure), Omari Hardwick (Power) andRaoul Peck (I Am Not Your Negro). The ABFF is the preeminent pipeline for Black talent, in front of and behind the camera.
The star-studded gala was hosted by comedian and actor Cedric the Entertainer. Lena Waithe (The Chi) presented director Ava DuVernay with the Industry Visionary Award. Legendary actor Billy Dee Williams received the Hollywood Legacy Award and received a surprised video tribute from actor Harrison Ford. Comedian Tiffany Haddish was honored with the Rising Star Award and actor Omari Hardwick was given the Distinguished ABFF Alumni Award. Snoop Dogg presented the cast of “Martin” (Martin Lawrence, Tichina Arnold, Tisha Campbell, Carl Payne II, Bently Kyle Evans) with the Classic Television Award.
Black-ish (ABC) and Insecure (HBO) won the Television Show of the year (Comedy), presented by actor and comedian Lil Rel Howery. Tracee Ellis Ross, Deon Cole, Issa Rae, Jay Ellis and Yvonne Oriji accepted the awards for their show, cast and crew.
Queen Sugar won the coveted Television Show of the Year (Drama) award for the second year in a row. Ava DuVernay, along with the cast (Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Dondre Whitfield, Tina Lifford, Bianca Lawson, Timon Kyle Durrett) accepted their award.
Additional winners included Get Out (Universal Pictures), for Movie of the Year. Jordon Peel, Lil Rel Howery, Betty Gabriel and Marcus Henderson accepted the award.
Other notable attendees included, John Singleton, Angela Bassett, Regina Hall, Debra Lee, Lisa Raye, Kimberly Elyse, Malinda Williams, Vanessa Williams, Anika Noni Rose, Tank, Lorenz Tate and Roland Martin.
The event concluded with two performances by Grammy-winning artist Charlie Wilson, accompanied by the Adam Blackstone Band.
For more information about the ABFF Honors 2018, log on to ABFFHonors website. You can also follow them on their social media platforms:
Facebook: American Black Film Festival
Youtube: American Black Film Festival
Photos by Demetrice Burgess