Cord Jefferson, Paul Selvin Award honoree and Adapted Screenplay winner for “American Fiction.” (Courtesy photo) 

The 76th Annual Writers Guild Awards welcomed several Black nominees, presenters, and guests. In addition to paying homage to exemplary writing in film and television, the WGA Awards also gives accolades for composition in new media, broadcast and digital news, and promotional categories.

The turnout on the red carpet included actress Erika Alexander, “Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon” and “Daisy Jones and the Six” writer Charmaine De Grate, and screenwriter of “American Fiction” and the 2024 WGA Paul Selvin Award honoree Cord Jefferson.

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Other attendees included WGA Awards host Niecy Nash-Betts and “Abbott Elementary” creator and star Quinta Brunson.

Jessica Betts, songwriter and spouse of Nash-Betts, said, “Writers matter. All writers matter. I’m a songwriter and I love scripts. I love television shows that have depth in the writing, so it’s important for these guys to be recognized this evening.”

Charmaine De Grate, “Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon” and “Daisy Jones and the Six” writer. (Courtesy photo)

Charmaine De Grate, writer for “Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon” and WGA Award Limited Series nominee for “Daisy Jones and the Six,” says part of what sparks her creativity as a writer is her New Orleans, Louisiana roots.

“Being from New Orleans, we grew up with magic everywhere we looked,” said De Grate. “In the French Quarters, it has history and magical aspects – and stories. Down south, it’s all about the history. It’s all about the stories, particularly in New Orleans. So, from birth, storytelling was a part of my DNA.”

Cord Jefferson, the screenwriter and director of the film “American Fiction,” was honored with the Paul Selvin Award.

The Paul Selvin Award is a special award presented by the Writers Guild of America. It is given to the script that “best embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties which are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere.”

When asked how he felt about receiving such a prestigious honor, Jefferson replied, “Writers are nothing without the protection of our free speech and our civil liberties. I think the ability to say what you want and write about anything you want to write about — that is foundational for our profession.”

He says getting an award that embodies those principles is a true honor.

Jefferson also won the night’s WGA Award for Adapted Screenplay for “American Fiction,” which is based on the novel Erasure by Percival Everett.

Erika Alexander, “American Fiction” actress and 2024 Paul Selvin Award presenter. (Courtesy photo)

Erika Alexander, who stars as Coraline in “American Fiction,” presented Jefferson with the Selvin Award.

Alexander, who is also widely known for her role as Maxine Shaw on the popular 1990s television sitcom “Living Single,” said this about the importance of supporting Black writers:

“African Americans have created this culture in America, and we’ve had very little support doing it.”

“They’ve taken advantage of us and our knowledge, and our strength and power, and position at certain times,” she continued. “So, they own a lot of what we’ve made and what we’ve created. So, talk about debt — there’s a debt to be paid to Black creators, all of us as a whole.”