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Cruising With Critics: AAFCA Honors Black Excellence In Film

Charlamagne The God & Alesha Renee

I rolled up at the 13th Annual AAFCA Awards at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills in style with my friends at Nissan and had an incredible night seeing Black Hollywood celebrated for their work in cinema.

It was an energetic night powered by the all-electric Nissan ARIYA, which made its red carpet debut.

The AAFCA Awards were hosted by radio/TV personality Charlamagne The God and actress Alesha Renee.

The films “King Richard” and “The Harder They Fall” each took home four awards, with Will Smith (Best Actor, “King Richard”), Aunjanue Ellis (Best Supporting Actress, “King Richard”), Jeymes Samuel (Best Director/Best Picture/Best Ensemble/Best Music, “The Harder They Fall”), Saniyya Sidney (Breakout Actor, “King Richard”) all taking home awards.

Jeymes Samuel

Reinaldo Marcus Green was recognized as the Emerging Director, and other winners included Jennifer Hudson (Best Actress, “Respect”); Corey Hawkins (Best Supporting Actor, “The Tragedy of Macbeth”), and Adam McKay (Best Screenplay, “Don’t Look Up”).

Also the film “Who We Are” was honored for Best Independent Feature and Questlove’s “Summer of Soul” landed the AAFCA Award for Best Documentary. 

AAFCA also presented several special achievement honors.  Oscar® nominated documentary ATTICA, received the prestigious AAFCA Stanley & Karen Kramer Award for Social Justice, which was presented to the film’s director Stanley Nelson by AAFCA president Gil Robertson and Karen Kramer, head of the Stanley Kramer Library and steward of the late filmmaker’s legacy of using cinema as a tool to highlight social justice issues. 

(Jawn Murray, Jasmine Simpkins Jarrett Hill, Flo Anthony & Kimatni Rawlins)

The Building Change Award was presented to producer/executive Roxanne Avent-Taylor, co-founder of Hidden Empire Film Group.

Aunjanue Ellis

The Salute to Excellence award was presented to John Gibson who leads diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives for the MPA.

The Cinema Vanguard award was presented to the Sony Motion Picture Group

The innovator award presented by Nissan, was presented to two-time Oscar® nominee and six-time Grammy-winning composer Terence Blanchard

Presenters during the AAFCA Awards included Sherri Shepherd (“Sex Lives of College Girls”), DeWanda Wise (“The Harder they Fall”), Meagan Good (“Harlem”), Franklin Leonard (Film Executive, Founder of Black List), Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”), Jay Ellis (“Insecure”), Travon Free (“The Daily Show”), Algee Smith (“The Hate U Give”), Nicole Brown (“This is the End”), Cassandra Freeman (“Bel-Air”), and filmmaker Shaka King (“Judas And The Black Messiah”).

(Nissan Executives and their VIP Guests at AAFCA Awards)

This was Nissan’s fifth year as a principle sponsor of the AAFCA Awards.

Nissan is no stranger to Hollywood, having partnered with films like “A Wrinkle In Time” and various films from the “Star Wars” franchise in recent years.

Check out more photos from the AAFCA Awards below, courtesy of photographer Robin Lori Marshall.

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