It’s hard to deny that 2016 was an amazing time for Black writers and directors. From the small screen, all the way to cinemas, Black folks created some of the most talked about content of the year. Shows like Black-ish, Atlanta, Queen Sugar, and Insecure had fans tuning in each week to see what would happen next, while audiences flooded to theaters to see films like Hidden Figures, Fences, and Moonlight. It was a banner year for films and TV shows centered around people of color, and BET Networks and the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is gearing up to celebrate it in style.
On February 22, the network will air BET Presents The American Black Film Festival Honors, which celebrates Black culture by honoring individuals, movies and television shows that have had a significant impact on American entertainment, as well as the people who are proponents of championing diversity and inclusion in Hollywood. This year, ABFF will recognize Denzel Washington, Issa Rae, and F. Gary Gray and for their contributions to the arts.
Washington, who just won a Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance in Fences, will receive the “Hollywood Legacy Award;’ Rae, whose critically acclaimed series Insecure garnered her a Golden Globe nomination, will be honored with the “Rising Star Award;” and Gray, who directed the latest film in the Fast and Furious franchise, will receive the “Excellence in the Arts Award.”
This year’s ceremony will take place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and will be hosted by actress Regina Hall.
Founded in 1997 by Jeff Friday as a way to strengthen Black filmmaking and promote diversity in the motion picture industry, the ABFF supports Black talent, both in front of and behind the camera, while showcasing a wide array of films featuring people of African descent.
Watch BET Presents The American Black Film Festival Honors on Wednesday, February 22 at 8:00 p.m.