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Stars Come Out in Full Force to Support Inaugural ABFF Awards

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BET Networks and the American Black Film Festival joined forces to recognize diversity in Hollywood at a star-studded event at the Beverly Hilton Sunday.

The first ABFF Awards: A Celebration of Hollywood brought many stars out. The show was launched by the American Black Film Festival and BET – in response to the Oscars lack of diversity in this year’s nominations.

The mission of the ABFF Honors is “to celebrate Black culture by recognizing individuals, movies and television shows that have had a significant impact on American entertainment, as well as those who are proponents of championing diversity and inclusion in Hollywood.”

The event, which focuses on individuals, television programs and movies of 2015 that celebrate black culture, honored Diahann Carroll with the Hollywood Legacy Award.

The event was hosted by Mike Epps, and producer Will Packer was honored with the Distinguished ABFF Alumni Award.

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Celebrity Entertainment

Diahann Carroll to Receive Hollywood Legacy Award

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Los Angeles, CA – Continuing its tradition of providing platforms showcasing work of people of African heritage and promoting camaraderie among multicultural artists in Hollywood, the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is proud to announce legendary singer, actress and author Diahann Carroll will be the recipient of the “2016 ABFF Honors Hollywood Legacy Award.” ABFF Honors will be held February 21, 2016, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA.

Hosted by Mike Epps, the event will feature a presentation of nine awards, including Film of the Year, Television Show of the Year, Excellence in the Arts, Hot In Hollywood and the Hollywood Legacy Award. Invited guests to this private affair will include artists and other prominent members of the Hollywood community. The evening will begin at 4 p.m. with red carpet arrivals, followed by an elegant and spirited awards dinner and after-party.

The mission of the awards gala is to celebrate 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.

In paying tribute to Ms. Carroll, ABFF Honors looks to illuminate a distinguished career that has spanned more than sixty years. She has moved effortlessly between the worlds of film, television, music and the stage, earning her the designation Hollywood legend. She is an Oscar nominee, a Tony Award winner, a Golden Globe winner, a four-time Emmy nominee, a Grammy nominee and a best-selling author.

Diahann Carroll made her Broadway debut starring in the Harold Arlen/Truman Capote musical House of Flowers. After seeing her in that production, Richard Rodgers created his own starring vehicle for her, the Broadway musicalNo Strings, for which she won a Tony Award.

Perhaps best known for her groundbreaking lead role as a nurse and single mom in the critically acclaimed television series Julia, which debuted in 1968 and ran for three years, Diahann Carrroll earned her first Emmy nomination. Her extensive television career includes the game-changing role as “Dominique Devereaux” on the internationally popular television series Dynasty, as well as recurring roles on USA’s hit series White Collar, ABC’sGrey’s Anatomy and A Different World.

On the big screen, Ms. Carroll received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress and a Golden Globe award for her starring role opposite James Earl Jones in Claudine. Other notable films include Carmen Jones, Paris Blues, Porgy and Bess, Hurry Sundown, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Eve’s Bayou.

“Diahann Carroll is one of the most talented and distinguished artists in American history. We are looking forward to paying tribute to her rich trailblazing legacy,” said Jeff Friday, president & CEO of Film Life, Inc. and ABFF Ventures.

Promising to be a highlight of the Hollywood awards season and Black History Month, ABFF Honors is produced by ABFF Ventures (a partnership between Film Life, Inc., and Black Enterprise), in association with de Passe Jones Entertainment.

2016 ABFF Honors sponsors include: Presenting Sponsor – Cadillac and Gold Sponsor – Prudential.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 3.03.03 PMFor more information about the 2016 ABFF Honors, log on to www.abffhonors.com.    

ABOUT THE ABFF 

Founded in 1997, the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is an annual event 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. ABFF founder Jeff Friday conceived the festival as a vehicle to promote diversity in the motion picture industry and strengthen the Black filmmaking community through resource sharing, education, artistic collaboration and career development. Today, the ABFF is recognized as the #1 source for new Black talent, both in front of and behind the camera, and is regarded as one of the leading film festivals in the world. The festival is produced by ABFF Ventures (a partnership between Film Life, Inc., and Black Enterprise). Celebrating its 20th year, the 2016 ABFF will be held June 15-19, 2016, in Miami, Florida. For more information about the festival, visi www.ABFF.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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Regina King, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, & OITNB Cast Will be Honored at Essence’s Annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon

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The eighth annual “Black Women in Hollywood” luncheon is set to take place Feb. 19 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Essence’s Editor-In-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca and Shaun Robinson from Access Hollywood announced this year’s honorees Wednesday via an online press conference.

“Orange Is The New Black” stars Uzo Aduba, Vicky Jeudy, Danielle Brooks, Lorraine Toussaint, Samira Wiley, Adrienne C. Moore and Laverne Cox will receive the Vanguard award, and Ruth E. Carter will be honored with the Visionary Award.

Regina King will receive The Fierce & Fearless Award, while Gugu Mbatha-Raw will receive the Lincoln Breakthrough of the Year Award.

The Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon recognizes the extraordinary achievements of trailblazing women in film and television.

Past honorees include: Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong’o, Ava DuVernay, Halle Berry, Viola Davis, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Angela Bassett, Queen Latifah, Taraji P. Henson, Ruby Dee, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, Mara Brock-Akil, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Suzanne de Passe, among others.

“The past year has been a game-changer for women in Hollywood. We are creating, performing and calling the shots,” De Luca stated in a press release. “By recognizing our leading ladies both in front of and behind the camera, Essence Black Women in Hollywood illuminates the ‘power of our presence,” noted Michelle Ebanks, Essence president.

“Essence embodies the diversity of our stories, and Black Women in Hollywood allows us to honor fresh and innovative storytelling, as well as groundbreaking portrayals,” added Ebanks. “This year we are proudly honoring seven brilliant actresses from the original hit series “Orange is the New Black”; a critically-acclaimed actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw; an accomplished performer and director with a career spanning three decades Regina King; and an inspirational creative talent Ruth E. Carter.”

Fans can gain exclusive access to the Black Women in Hollywood luncheon by visiting Essence.com. The site, which will feature highlights and a look inside will also live stream red-carpet happenings and interviews with the stars at 11:00 a.m. PST/2:00 p.m. EST and re-air at 6 p.m. PST/9 p.m. EST.

Essence celebrates its 45th anniversary this year and according to the release, the event will commemorate the magazine’s annual Hollywood issue (March), which will hit newsstands on Feb. 13th.