ABFF Awards: A Celebration of Hollywood
Last night BET aired the 2016 American Black Film Festival (ABFF) Honors, a gala saluting excellence in film and television hosted by Mike Epps. ABFF has provided a platform for Black film makers since 1997, and has brought us successes including Will Packer (Ride Along) and Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station). During his award acceptance speech Will Packer expressed that when he first started out as a young filmmaker he was not able to get the attention of Sundance and Toronto International Film Festival. However, ABFF embraced him with open arms at a time when all he needed was a chance. Thanks to ABFF providing an opportunity, Will Packer is the man behind hit films including Think Like A Man, Takers and Stomp The Yard.
With all the Oscar boycott hype, tuning in to this award show was refreshing and encouraging. It was a reminder, that we don’t need the Oscars, we can create our own lane and thrive in it. It was beautiful to see black filmmakers come together and award much deserving works of art like Straight Outta Compton, which won film of the year.
Also among the honorees was Diahann Carroll. I personally have idolized her style and grace since I was a little girl watching her play Marion Gilbert in A Different World. As I grew up I learned she was the first African American woman to star in her own TV series, making it possible for us to have our Olivia Popes and Mary Jane Pauls. I even had the opportunity to meet her when I worked in the production office of White Collar during the series final season. Her elegance is just as breathtaking in person.
I am not the biggest fan of award shows, I usually just check out the highlights the following day. But I was thrilled to have seen this one in it's entirety. I watched in awe of my people and proud to be a Black woman in the Entertainment Industry. As the camera panned around the room, I saw the faces of Taye Diggs, Regina King, Nia Long, Omari Hardwick and Robert Townsend. Talented brown people that I have watched growing up and to this day. Last night ABFF saluted talented hardworking Black people in television and film, but today I want to salute ABFF. Thank you for providing a platform, for opening doors and putting black filmmakers in the rooms they otherwise probably would've had to break into. This year's ABFF will take place in Miami, Florida from June 15 - 19th, head over to ABFF.com for more information.