Jamie Foxx, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Lena Waithe and more honored at ‘AAFCA Awards’ [PHOTOS]

Check out photos from Wednesday night’s 11th Annual AAFCA Awards.

The evening was hosted by actor and comedian Lil Rel Howery with honors going to Jamie Foxx for his role in Just Mercy, Eddie Murphy for the Netflix movie Dolemite Is My Name, Jordan Peele for Us, Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas for Queen & Slim and Kasi Lemmons for Harriet.

The event was sponsored by Nissan, Morgan Stanley and Deadline and took place at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, CA.

See the full list of winners below:

Best Film: “Us” (Universal Pictures)

Best Director: Jordan Peele (“Us,” Universal Pictures)

Best Actor: Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name,” Netflix)

Best Actress: Lupita Nyong’o (“Us,” Universal Pictures)

Best Supporting Actor: Jamie Foxx (“Just Mercy,” Warner Bros. Pictures) 

Best Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“Dolemite Is My Name,” Netflix)

Best Breakout Performance: Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (“Waves,” A24)

Best Animated Film: “Abominable” (Universal Pictures)

Best Documentary: “The Black Godfather” (Netflix)

Best Foreign Film: “Parasite” (Neon)

Best Independent Film: “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (A24)

Best Screenplay Presented with The Black List: Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite” (Neon)

Impact Award: “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)

We See You Award: Taylor Russell (“Waves,” A24)

The AAFCA 2019 Top Ten Films

  1. “Us” (Universal Pictures)
  2.  “Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix)
  3. “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  4. “Clemency” (Neon)
  5. “The Irishman” (Netflix)
  6. “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
  7. “Waves” (A24)
  8. TIE “Parasite” (Neon) and “Atlantics” (Netflix)
  9. The Farewell (A24)
  10.  “Harriet” (Focus Features)

Photo Credits: AAFCA

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Lupita Nyong’o, Eddie Murphy + more to receive ‘AAFCA AWARDS’


The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) has announced its winners for The AAFCA Awards and Jordan Peele‘s Us leads the pack. The dramatic thriller picked up three awards including “Best Film,” “Best Director” for Peele and “Best Actress” for Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o. Other winners include Eddie Murphy for Dolemite Is My Name, Jamie Foxx for Just Mercy plus The Black Godfather and more.

Check out the full list below:

Best Film: “Us” (Universal Pictures)

Best Director: Jordan Peele (“Us,” Universal Pictures)

Best Actor: Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name,” Netflix)

Best Actress: Lupita Nyong’o (“Us,” Universal Pictures)

Best Supporting Actor: Jamie Foxx (“Just Mercy,” Warner Bros. Pictures) 

Best Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“Dolemite Is My Name,” Netflix)

Best Breakout Performance: Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (“Waves,” A24)

Best Animated Film: “Abominable” (Universal Pictures)

Best Documentary: “The Black Godfather” (Netflix)

Best Foreign Film: “Parasite” (Neon)

Best Independent Film: “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (A24)

Best Screenplay Presented with The Black List: Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite” (Neon)

Impact Award: “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)

We See You Award: Taylor Russell (“Waves,” A24)

“Jordan Peele continued to raise the bar in horror specifically and film overall” stated AAFCA President/Co-Founder Gil Robertson. “With ‘Us,’ he once again upended the horror genre. His centering of a black nuclear family determined to survive in a complex storyline in a genre where black family units have historically been unseen is extraordinary. He continues to push previously set boundaries with bold storylines that bring a refreshing perspective to cinema overall and the genre specifically. The film’s $255 million global gross is yet another example that inclusive filmmaking resonates big at the box office and it also resonated critically with our members who awarded the film with our highest honors.”

The organization, whose membership spans the U.S., the Caribbean, Europe and Africa and is the largest of its kind, also announced its ten best films of the year:

The AAFCA 2019 Top Ten Films

  1. “Us” (Universal Pictures)
  2.  “Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix)
  3. “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  4. “Clemency” (Neon)
  5. “The Irishman” (Netflix)
  6. “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
  7. “Waves” (A24)
  8. TIE “Parasite” (Neon) and “Atlantics” (Netflix)
  9. The Farewell (A24)
  10.  “Harriet” (Focus Features)

“This year’s (eleven) best films reflect a wide spectrum of diversity and creativity.  Many of them tackle social injustice and challenge the criminal justice system in the United States specifically. AAFCA members, who put in their ballots from as far away as Australia and Jamaica, cast a wide net to recognize films made in the U.S. and beyond.Their choices truly reflect the best of cinema in 2019,” said Robertson.

The AAFCA Awards, sponsored by Nissan, Morgan Stanley and Deadline, takes place on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at the Taglyan Complex. Due to the truncated awards season, the AAFCA Special Achievement Awards, as announced earlier in the year, will take place Saturday, April 11, 2020 at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades.

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AAFCA honors the ‘Movies of Motown’ with TCM (VIDEO)

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) continues its partnership with Turner Classic Movies (TCM) with a special celebration of the films of Motown. Last year the two teamed up to present The Black Experience on Film, putting diversity and inclusion in cinema at the forefront with a month of programming on TCM curated and hosted by AAFCA members. This year, the two have rejoined forces for AAFCA Presents: Motown Productions on October 22, featuring AAFCA member Christopher Witherspoon, who joins TCM host Alicia Malone to screen and discuss the classic Motown films THE LAST DRAGON, LADY SINGS THE BLUES and MAHOGANY.  

“We are thrilled to extend our relationship with Turner Classic Movies showcasing the cinematic universe of Motown,” said AAFCA President/CEO Gil Robertson. “Motown chairman Berry Gordy is a visionary known for creating the soundtrack to American life, but his cinematic contributions are largely unsung, and they shouldn’t be. Fueled by Gordy’s creative genius and bold vision, Motown Productions offered the world a chance to see images of Black life that had never been seen before: a Black Kung Fu master, a Black female model and designer and a timeless biopic of the legendary Billie Holiday that earned Diana Ross an Oscar® nomination. It’s just incredible.” 

“TCM’s mission is to showcase films with context and curation, and we are so pleased the experts at AAFCA are joining us again this year to highlight the importance and originality of Motown Productions, the extension of Gordon’s Motown Records music label,” said Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming & production, TCM. “We are proud that this partnership will continue to bring both important programming and a critical perspective to our audiences.”

Check out Ms. Ross’ mesmerizing Lady Sings the Blues performance of “Good Morning Heartache” below:


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AAFCA celebrates Allied’s Carolyn Sloss [PHOTOS]

Congratulations goes out to Carolyn Sloss, Vice President at Allied Global Marketing. She picked up AAFCA’s Synergy Award on Thursday evening during a private reception at the historic Auburn Avenue Research Library.

The annual event recognizes individuals who have contributed to Georgia’s entertainment scene. The event also brings together the power players in Atlanta’s creative and business communities for the purpose of fostering positive relationships that continue to nurture and grow the industry.

Past recipients have included Roger M. Bobb (Bobb Cat Films), Rob Hardy (TV director and producer), Melissa Ingram (ASPIRE TV), Mark Swinton (Tyler Perry Studios) and Swirl Films just to name a few.

A number of Allied employees—past and present—were in the building to celebrate Sloss and her award. Since 2001, she has been responsible for the management and strategic planning for the Atlanta office and has played a key role in the company’s growth.

Check out a few of the reception photos below:

Photo Credits:

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‘AAFCA TV Honors’ salutes ‘When They See Us,’ ‘Power,’ Ryan Murphy and more

Ava DuVernay’s riveting Netflix project When They See Us earned four wins from the African American Film Critics Association Tuesday as part of the upcoming AAFCA TV Honors. The highly popular limited series about the infamous Central Park rape case that resulted in the arrest and false imprisonment of five black youths, received the group’s Best Limited Series, Best Ensemble, Best Writing and Breakout Performance for Jharrel Jerome who plays Korey Wise in the series.

Other big wins went to the popular Starz drama Power, which begins its sixth and final season August 25th, and the CBS freshman comedy, The Neighborhood, starring Cedric the Entertainer and Tichina Arnold. Angela Bassett and Sterling K. Brown earned Best Acting Honors for their respective performances in the series 9-1-1 on Fox and This Is Us on NBC.

In all, the sixteen-year-old association will give out ten awards, including honoring mega-producer Ryan Murphy with the AAFCATV Icon Award and big three network, CBS, with the AAFCA Inclusion Award for its diverse programming and talent.     

“It is impossible to ignore TV’s popularity and remarkable influence on America’s pop culture landscape today,” says AAFCA president Gil Robertson IV. “As the stature of the small screen continues to expand, it has become increasingly more diverse and inclusive, a movement that we at AAFCA wholeheartedly embrace and champion. The honorees for our first AAFCA TV Honors represent the very best of television programming. They all successfully put a mirror up to our world to tell stories that are refreshingly diverse and authentic. We feel that this new wave of innovative, thought-provoking storytelling is inspiring and deserving of celebration.”

The honorees will be feted at AAFCA TV Honors during a private brunch on Sunday, August 11, 2019 at the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey, CA.

See all of the winners below:

Best Drama – “Power” (Starz)

Best Comedy – “The Neighborhood” (CBS)

Best Limited Series – “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Best Performance Female – Angela Bassett (9-1-1) FOX

Best Performance Male – Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) NBC

Best Ensemble – “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Best Writing – “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Breakthrough Performance – Jharrel Jerome, “When They See Us” (Netflix)

AAFCA TV Honors Inclusion Award – CBS

AAFCA TV Honors ICON Award – Ryan Murphy  

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AAFCA to be honored with NALIP’s 2019 “We Are Inclusion” Award

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

CONGRATS to Gil Robertson and the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA). His organization will be recognized with the “We Are Inclusion” Award during The National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Media Summit – July 25-28 in Hollywood, CA.

For the past two years, NALIP has put a laser focus on encouraging diversity in Hollywood through its #WeAreInclusion campaign. That work is why NALIP has chosen to honor AAFCA. In a letter, NALIP Executive Director Ben Lopez noted that the honor — to be accepted by Robertson, AAFCA co-founder and CEO — recognizes “the cross-cultural impact [AAFCA] has had on emerging filmmakers of color” as well as Robertson’s visionary leadership to “distribute inspirational content, build an impactful membership, and hold dynamic events advancing diverse creatives.”

The mission of inclusion is a passionate one for AAFCA and Robertson and, in that work, NALIP has also been an ally. “It’s such a privilege to receive this award from NALIP on behalf of AAFCA,” said Robertson. “NALIP’s Executive Director Ben Lopez is a great compatriot and friend to both me and AAFCA overall. Both our organizations share common values in championing greater inclusion in the Hollywood community. AAFCA has partnered with NALIP on many initiatives. AAFCA wholeheartedly believes in the #weareinclusion vision and are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with NALIP to realize that vision.”

Robertson will accept the award Sunday, July 28, at The Montalbán Theatre, named for pioneering Mexican actor and inclusion advocate Ricardo Montalbán, best known as Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island, whose career spanned seven decades and included an Emmy and Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild.

Click here for more information.

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ASPiRE’s Melissa Ingram to receive AAFCA’s Synergy Award + more

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

CONGRATS to ASPiRE Network’s Vice President and Channel Manager—Melissa Ingram. She is the recipient of AAFCA’s coveted SYNERGY AWARD and the first female honoree. ASPiRE is the cable network founded by NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

The SYNERGY AWARD celebrates inroads made by film and TV professionals in the Southeast and provides an opportunity for creative professionals to connect and collaborate with their peers across the industry.

“Aspire has carved out a great niche with its programming that puts a spotlight on Black excellence, and a great deal of that success is owed to Melissa’s leadership,” says AAFCA president Gil Robertson. “AAFCA is enormously proud to add her to the list of other Atlanta-based film and TV honorees who have contributed greatly to the phenomenal growth of our industry in the southeast.”

Pasts recipients include filmmaker Rob Hardy, TV producer and playwright Mark E. Swinton , film mogul Roger M. Bobb and Eric Tomosunas of SwirlFilms.

In addition to the SYNERGY AWARDS, AAFCA will also host its first ever Summer Screening Series in Los Angeles and Atlanta with screenings of 30, 25 and 20 year old anniversary titles that celebrates Black culture and life, as well as the evolution of Black filmmakers.

Featured films for the series launch are COMING TO AMERICA (1988); POETIC JUSTICE (1993) and DOWN IN THE DELTA (1998). One of the series’ main highlights is a special Q&A with John Singleton, who directed POETIC JUSTICE, taking place Saturday, July 14th at the Mark Taper Room in downtown Los Angeles.

“We are very happy to celebrate these landmark films that not only entertain, but also raise awareness of the African American experience, says AAFCAPrograms Director, Nicholas Maye. “The fact that these films are still impactful 30, 25 and 20 years later speaks to the long-lasting power of Black film and its images and themes.”

Stay tuned…

Photo Credits:  AAFCA


AAFCA salutes Rob Hardy at 2017 #SYNERGYAWARDS [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

One of Atlanta’s pioneers in television and film—Rob Hardy—was honored Thursday night during the 2017 Synergy Awards. The annual summer ceremony was presented by Gil Robertson and the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and took place at Bobbcat Studios.

The Synergy Awards is one of AAFCA’s signature events and celebrates inroads made by film and TV professionals in the Southeast. It also provides an opportunity for creative professionals in and around the area to connect and collaborate with their peers across the industry.

Hardy was acknowledged for laying a foundation for Atlanta’s current boom in television and film production. The ceremony included a video presentation featuring congratulatory messages from a number of Hardy’s close friends and collaborators like fellow filmmaker Roger M. Bobb, iconic casting director Reuben Cannon, longtime partner Will Packer, Rainforest Entertainment’s Mitzi Miller and Liquid Soul’s Tirrell Whitley.

“Rob is getting this award because Atlanta is number one [applause]…in terms of TV and productions in the world. A large part of that has been because of his efforts,” said Robertson to the attendees.

Hardy began his film career as a student on the campus of Florida A&M University with Packer and their very first project, “Chocolate City.” After graduation, the two moved to Jonesboro, GA where they formed their production company, Rainforest Films. Their next movie, “Trois,” elevated the profile of their brand and opened doors for them to go on and produce a string of other hit films including “Motives,” “Stomp the Yard,” “Think Like a Man,” “Think Like a Man Too” and “No Good Deed.”  Hardy also has credits on such hit television shows as “Empire,” “How To Get Away with Murder,” and “Castle.” His most recent endeavor included creating and executive producing BET’s “The Quad.” He also has two other shows lined up including one with hip hop star Clifford “T.I.” Harris. 

“Sometimes doors are closed to force you and I to find other routes to tell our stories. We all have a place here.  Just because you see someone else’s name in lights, doesn’t mean that your time’s not coming…if you just continue to work and believe,” said Hardy to the attendees.

Celebrities in attendance included “Underground” and “Hit the Floor” actor Rob Riley, “Hollywood Divas” star Lisa Wu, plus “Saints and Sinners “actresses Jasmine Burke and Dawn Halfkenny. Past Synergy Award recipients, Keith Neal and Eric Tomosunas, were also in attendance as well as industry professionals—Dianne AshfordAsante Bradford, April Love, Jess Manning, Angela WattsChelsye Burrows and George Pierre.

Check out more photos below:

Photo Credits:

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AAFCA’s ‘Synergy Awards’ to honor Rob Hardy #BlackAchievement

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Congrats to acclaimed filmmaker, super producer, director and my fraternity brother Rob Hardy. He will be recognized at this year’s “Synergy Awards” presented by the African American Film Critics Association (AFFCA). The event takes place on July 20 at Bobbcat Films in Atlanta.

A signature event for the organization, AAFCA SYNERGY celebrates inroads made by film and TV professionals in the Southeast, which now leads the industry with more feature film productions than any other market in the world. AAFCA SYNERGY provides an opportunity for creative professionals in Atlanta and the Southeast region to connect and collaborate with their peers across the industry.  Hardy will join an outstanding group of Atlanta-based entrepreneurs and creatives who have been acknowledged by the organization for their achievements.

“Rob Hardy was an early proponent of filming movies and other creative content in the Southeast, and is a living testament to the immense opportunities that are possible for a growing number of producers, directors and content creators based in the Southeast,” says AAFCA president and co-founder Gil Robertson. “Atlanta’s position as a player in film and TV production is now undeniable, and SYNERGY is honored to celebrate game-changers like Rob Hardy with a platform that encourages, inspires and connects others who are following that lead and are dedicated to further strengthening the region’s prime position.”

A respected, creative thought leader, Hardy has been at the forefront of the current success of film production in the Southeast with such franchise films as “Stomp The Yard,” which was filmed in Atlanta, and “Think Like A Man” (both made alongside one-time producing partner Will Packer) that have generated over $200 million at the box office. As a television director, Hardy has amassed an impressive resume with such shows as “Power,” “Blindspot,” “Criminal Minds,” “The Flash” and “Vampire Diaries”. Hardy is also off to a promising start creating television. Recently, BET picked up “The Quad,” a scripted series around HBCU life that Hardy co-created and for which he serves as an executive producer, for a second season. Also, it was recently announced that Hardy is developing the series “Atlanta’s Most Wanted” with rapper/actor/producer T.I. and Jerry Bruckheimer Television at FOX.

Previous AAFCA SYNERGY Award recipients include Tirrell Whittley and Nick Nelson, principals of the media marketing company, Liquid Soul; Charles Humbard, founder and president of UPtv; Roger M. Bobb, executive producer of the popular sitcoms, “Rickey Smiley Show and “Mann and Wife”; Brett Dismuke and Eric Tomosunas, principals of Swirl Films and Mark Swinton, producer at Tyler Perry Studio.

See you there!

Photo Credits: BET and for UPFRONT

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#UPFRONT talks to Patti LaBelle about her new jazz album ‘Bel Hommage’ & more

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out my exclusive interview with Grammy winning music legend—Miss Patti LaBelle! #UPFRONT caught up with the in demand singer to chat about her first jazz album, Bel Hommage.  She also talks about her song selection process and why she waiting so long to release this project. Miss Patti also opens up about her new book, Desserts LaBelle Soulful Sweets to Sing About and tells a heart touching story about her Redemptive Red Velvet Cake.

#UPFRONT also catches up with Gil Robertson, President of the African American Film Critics Association. (AFFCA). The organization is gearing up for its Annual Synergy Awards where they will honor filmmaker and super producer Rob Hardy. Robertson also talks about his new children’s book, Book Of Black Heroes Political Leaders Past and Present and much more.

#UPFRONT Inside Atlanta Entertainment Industry is 30-minute radio magazine that features one-on-one interviews with all of the major players and behind-the-scenes superstars that make Georgia the new “Entertainment Capital.” It airs every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on Jazz 91.9 WCLK and his hosted by yours truly, Ray Cornelius.

Follow us now on Instagram: @UPFRONTtheSHOW

Click here to check out past shows!

Photo Credit: PhiladelphiaStyleMagazine

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AAFCA to screen ‘Purple Rain’ at ATL’s Auburn Avenue Research Library

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), in association with Atlanta’s historic Auburn Avenue Research Library will commemorate the cinematic legacy of Prince with a screening of his iconic film, “Purple Rain,” on Sunday, April 30 at 3 p.m. EST.

The event will include a screening of the film followed by a panel discussion that showcases his career in film. During his lifetime, the iconic entertainer, who died on April 21, 2016, starred in four films: “Under the Cherry Moon,” “Sign of the Times,” “Graffiti Bridge,” and the highly-lauded “Purple Rain.”

“Prince was one of the few black musicians who enjoyed success in cinema,” said AAFCA President, Gil Robertson. “His aptitude as a visual artist was stunning and continues to be influential today. It is both a privilege and an honor to share his cinematic works with our community partners around the country.”

Click here for more information and see you there!

Photo Credit: Instagram


AAFCA recognizes Sidney Poitier, ‘Moonlight,’ Lee Daniels & more! [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) held it’s 8th Annual AAFCA Awards Ceremony recently in Los Angeles and the event was nothing short of spectacular. A number of 2016’s top films were honored including “Moonlight,” “Fences,” “Loving,” and “Hidden Figures.” TV series like OWN’s “Queen Sugar” and FX’s “Atlanta” were also recognized as Top programs.

This year’s awards ceremony took place at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, CA and was attended by a number of the honorees including Janelle Monáe (Breakout Performance, “Moonlight” “Hidden Fences”), Barry Jenkins (Best Director, “Moonlight”) and Lee Daniels (Cinema Vanguard Award). Screen legend Sidney Poitier was also recognized for the 50th Anniversary of his groundbreaking film, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

A list of who’s who in film and television were also present including Nischelle Turner, John Singleton, Sanaa Lathan, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Jovan Adepo, Joe Morton, Tommy DavidsonAnna Marie HorsfordDemetrius Shipp Jr., Laz Alonso, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Eva Marcille, Rhyon Nicole, Marcus Scribner, Kendrick Sampson, Neil Brown Jr., Lou Diamond Phillips, Karen Sharpe and Kat Kramer.

“Queen Sugar” cast members Dawn Lyen-Gardner, Timon Kyle Durrett, Omar J. Dorsey, Tina Lifford and Dondre Whitfield were also present to pick up their “Best TV Show Award” along with the cast of “Underground” Alano Miller, Aisha Hinds and show creator Misha Green.

“Our members had a plethora of outstanding movies, documentaries and TV shows to choose from this year,” says AAFCA Co-founder Shawn Edwards. “It was an exceptional year in terms of the quantity and quality of films about the black experience. And while this by no means solves the diversity issue in the film industry it was definitely refreshing to have such a wide-range of exceptional work to choose from to honor and celebrate with our approval.”

“2016 provided our membership with many great films to choose from,” says AAFCA President and Co-founder, Gil Robertson. “Every movie and TV show on our Top 10 Lists could have easily been number one. The number of incredible performances by black actors and actresses added to a very competitive field of performances and represents a step towards inclusion that our membership warmly embraces. We look forward to what 2017 has in store.”

See more pictures and a full list of winners below:

Lee Daniels 

Janelle Monáe

Barry Jenkins 

See the full list of winners below:

BEST SONG – “VICTORY” from HIDDEN FIGURES (20th Century Fox)
BEST FOREIGN FILM – TANNA (Lightyear Entertainment)

BEST TV SHOW (Special/Limited Series) – LEMONADE – HBO

AAFCA Top Ten Films of 2016 are as follows in order of distinction:

1.      MOONLIGHT – A24
2.     FENCES – Paramount
3.     HIDDEN FIGURES – 20th Century Fox
4.     LION – The Weinstein Company
5.     LALA LAND – Lionsgate
6.     BIRTH OF A NATION – Fox Searchlight
7.     LOVING – Focus Features
8.     MANCHESTER BY THE SEA – Amazon Studios / Roadside Attractions
10.  QUEEN OF KATWE – Disney

AAFCA Top Ten TV shows of 2016 are as follows in order of distinction:

2.     UNDERGROUND – WGN America
3.     ATLANTA – FX
6.     THIS IS US – NBC

Photo Credits: AAFCA

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‘UPFRONT’ talks to MAJOR., AAFCA’s Gil Robertson & stars from ‘Hidden Figures’ (AUDIO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius

Just in case you missed it, here is link to this morning’s edition of “UPFRONT.”  This week’s show featured NAACP Image Award nominee MAJOR., who talked about his new found musical success and his chart topping single, “Why I Love You.”  Gil Robertson, co-founder of the African American Film Critics Association, came back to chat with us about the 2017 AAFCA Awards as well as their tribute to film icon and humanitarian Sidney Poitier.

Hidden Figures” actresses Maria Howell, Donna Biscoe and Karan Kendrick stopped by the studio to chop it up about their new holiday movie and why they were so elated to be a part of this inspirational story. They also talked exclusively to “UPFRONT” about their time on set, working with film stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe and why this project is so timely. Kendrick also discussed her new girls empowerment tour that was created as a result of appearing in the movie.

“UPFRONT” airs every Sat. morning at 9 a.m. on Jazz 91.9 WCLK or

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‘Moonlight,’ ‘Fences’ & ‘Hidden Figures’ earn 2017 AAFCA Awards

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) announced all of the winners for the 2017 AAFCA Awards on Monday and “Moonlight” walked away with the most honors. The film, which is based on Tarrell Alvin McCraney‘s play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, earned “Best Picture,” “Best Director” for Barry Jenkins, “Best Supporting Actor” for Mahershala Ali and “Best Breakout Performance” for Janelle Monáe.

August Wilson‘s “Fences” picked up three awards including “Best Actor” for Denzel Washington, “Best Supporting Actress” for Viola Davis and “Best Screenplay.” Other winners include “Hidden Figures” who grabbed “Best Ensemble,” Best Breakout Performance” for Janelle Monáe and “Best Song.” In addition to the films, TV shows “Queen Sugar,” “Atlanta” and “Underground” were also awarded for their hugely successful first seasons.

The AAFCA Awards takes place on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood and will feature a star studded tribute to screen legend Sidney Poitier.  It will also recognize the 50th Anniversary of Poitier’s groundbreaking film, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

“2016 provided our membership with many great films to choose from,” said AAFCA president and co-founder Gil Robertson. “Every movie and TV show on our top 10 lists could have easily been No. 1. The number of incredible performances by black actors and actresses added to a very competitive field of performances and represents a step towards inclusion that our membership warmly embraces.”

See the complete list of winners below:


Best Picture

Best Director
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Actor
Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Actress
Ruth Negga, Loving

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, Fences

Best Ensemble
The cast of Hidden Figures

Breakout Performance 2017
Janelle Monae, Moonlight and Hidden Figures

Best Independent Film

Best Animation Film

Best Song
“Victory,” Hidden Figures

Best Documentary

Best Foreign Film

Best Screenplay
August Wilson, Fences


Best TV Show, Drama
Queen Sugar

Best TV Show, Comedy

Best TV Show, Cable/New Media

Best TV Show, Special/Limited Series

AAFCA Top 10 Films of 2016 in Order of Distinction

1. Moonlight
2. Fences
3. Hidden Figures
4. Lion
5. La La Land
6. The Birth of a Nation
7. Loving
8. Manchester by the Sea
9. Hell or High Water
10. Queen of Katwe

AAFCA Top 10 TV Shows of 2016 in Order of Distinction

1. Queen Sugar
2. Underground
3. Atlanta
4. Insecure
5. Luke Cage
6. This Is Us
7. Black-ish
8. The Get Down
9. Westworld
10. Survivor’s Remorse

Photo Credit: