Last night, ABFF Ventures hosted its annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) Honors at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. The ceremony, hosted by actor and comedian Cedric the Entertainer, honored director Ava DuVernay with the Industry Visionary Award, legendary actor Billy Dee Williams with the Hollywood Legacy Award, comedian Tiffany Haddish with the Rising Star Award, actor Omari Hardwick with the Distinguished ABFF Alumni Award and the writer and cast of “Martin” (Martin Lawrence, Tichina Arnold, Tisha Campbell, Carl Payne II, Bentley Kyle Evans) received the Classic Television Award.
Regina Hall, Lena Waithe, Armie Hammer and Snoop Dogg made special presentations to the honorees and Harrison Ford made a surprise video tribute to Billy Dee Williams.
Black-ish (ABC) and Insecure (HBO) were announced as winners of the Television Show of the Year (Comedy) category, presented by actor and comedian Lil Rel Howery. Tracee Ellis Ross, Deon Cole, Issa Rae, Jay Ellis and Yvonne Orji accepted their awards on behalf of their show, cast and crew.
For the second year in a row, Queen Sugar (OWN) took home the coveted Television Show of the Year (Drama) award. Ava DuVernay, along with the cast (Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Dondre Whitfield, Tina Lifford, Bianca Lawson, Timon Kyle Durrett) accepted their award.
Additional winners of the night included Get Out (Universal Pictures), for Movie of the Year. Jordan Peele, Lil Rel Howery, Betty Gabriel and Marcus Henderson accepted the award.
“Some of you know that I did not enter this industry as an artist. I came into this business as an advertiser with a profound love for art, and the ABFF became my canvas, says Jeff Friday, ABFF Ventures CEO. “It has allowed me to show my love of “all things Black,” by curating experiences that promote our culture and support young creative people who are now changing the world,” Jeff continues.
Grammy-winning artist Charlie Wilson, accompanied by The Adam Blackstone Band, ended the night on a high note signing “I’m Blessed” and “Outstanding” to an energetic audience standing on their feet and singing along to every word.
In just two years, ABFF Honors has become one of the most talked about Hollywood events, attracting top-tier talent and press coverage in mainstream and African American media outlets including, LA Times, Essence, Variety, Deadline, Extra, and The Associated Press. The show had its broadcast premiere on BET Networks.
The event was executive produced by ABFF Ventures founder Jeff Friday, in association with Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones for de Passe Jones Entertainment.
The 2018 ABFF Honors sponsors are BET Networks (Presenting Sponsor), AT&T and Cadillac (Red Carpet Sponsors), American Airlines (Official Airline Sponsor), Hennessy (Official Spirit Sponsor), Hilton (Official Hotel Sponsor) and CBS, Comcast, Creative Artists Agency, Facebook, HBO, Morgan Stanley, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Netflix, Prudential and Universal Pictures (Corporate Diversity Sponsors).