Wanda Sykes (Courtesy Photo)

Honorees include Steve McQueen, Wanda Sykes, Naomi Ackie, Michaela Coel, HBO/HBO MAX, “Lupin” and “Queen Sugar”

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) announced the Special Achievement Honorees for the 3rd annual AAFCA TV Honors. The 2021 ceremony will take place on Saturday, August 21st at the California Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, CA.  Individual winners will be announced at a later date.

Honorees are selected by a special committee within the association who identify exceptional content & performances in television and streaming that offer profound & refreshing representations of the world in which we live. The AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Awards recognize exceptional companies and individuals whose contributions have helped make the medium a powerful tool of change. “Our 2021 Class of Honorees is a special group who are using their considerable gifts to extend television’s legacy as a shaper of culture and a connector of people,” said AAFCA president Gil Robertson.

Director Steve McQueen will receive the 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Game Changer Award for “Small Axe,” his Amazon Studios five-part limited series chronicling the lives of the West Indian community in London from the 1960s to 1980s. Anchored by powerful storylines, “Small Axe” gave voice to the history of this community on television for the first time ever in a move that should have ripple effects for years to come.

Comedian/Actress Wanda Sykes will receive the 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Salute to Excellence Award for expanding the parameters of diversity and inclusion for both the Black and LGBTQ communities, as well as women everywhere in all stages throughout her illustrious career. The Netfix series The Upshaws, for which she serves as executive producer and co-star, is just the latest of her many notable television roles.

Actress Naomi Ackie will receive the 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Horizon Award for her standout performances in “Master of None” and “Small Axe.” These television performances are promising indicators of even greater work to come.

Multi-hyphenated creative Michaela Coel is the recipient of the 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Breakout Creative Award (presented with ADColor) for her transformative limited series “I May Destroy You,” which tackled sexual assault in the 21st century. For the series, which aired in both the UK and the USA, Coel wore several hats, stretching herself as a writer, director, producer, and actor, among other roles. In addition, she raised her voice in support of fair compensation for creatives, as well as diversity and inclusion.

“Lupin,” Netflix’s cat-and-mouse series set in Paris and starring French trailblazer Omar Sy, nabs 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Best International Production Award for expanding the terrain, as well as possibilities, for accessible global stories with a Black leading actor.

“Queen Sugar,” spearheaded by Ava DuVernay on OWN, is the recipient of the 2021 AAFCA TV Honor’s Impact Award for its outstanding season five in which it tackled the COVID crisis in the Black community, proving how television can be both compelling while also serving the greater public good.

HBO/HBO MAX rounds out the honorees earning the 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Inclusion Award for the network’s long history of producing transformative diverse and inclusive programming, including Lovecraft Country, I May Destroy You, Tina, Insecure, A Black Lady Sketch Show, In Treatment and more just over the last year. The consistency in diverse and inclusive content has made HBO, and its now companion HBO Max, a model for what the industry can do and continue to do.

“We couldn’t be prouder to bestow AAFCA’s highest honors to this remarkable group of honorees responsible for diverse and inclusive content that uplifts and inspires,” said Robertson. “Our hope is that our industry will continue its tremendous strides towards a landscape with diversity and inclusion at its core. Over the past year especially, we have gotten that & more and look forward to a glorious event celebrating the very best of what we can strive to be in both our creative and earthly realms.”