BET Networks and the American Black Film Festival are teaming up to co-produce the 2016 ABFF Awards: A Celebration of Hollywood. Stephen Hill, president of programming at BET Networks said:
“It’s clear that there’s a need for this show. 2015 was ripe with tremendous and inspiring performances by African Americans and we are beyond thrilled to be the ones to recognize them with class and admiration.”
The need that Hill speaks about is about the controversial Academy Awards. For the second year in a row, not one person of color received an acting nomination. Jeff Friday. founder and CEO of ABFF went on to say:
“Twenty years ago, I created the American Black Film Festival to spotlight the rich diversity of talent and achievement. It was born out of my love for film and desire to ensure that black people gained opportunity and equity in every arena of Hollywood.”
The awards show is gong to be hosted by actor and comedian Mike Epps. The show will not only give out awards, but also be celebrating black culture as a whole, as well as recognizing individuals, films, and television shows of the last year that affected American entertainment. The awards are also recognizing individuals who support the diversity and inclusion in Hollywood.
Some awards have already been announced, such as Regina King for “American Crime” and Don Cheadle for “House of Lies”, who are receiving Excellence in the Arts awards. Director Ryan Coogler, who directed “Creed” is receiving the Rising Star award. Actress Diahann Carroll and producer Will Packer will also be recognized for their lifelong contributions to Hollywood.
The 2016 ABFF Awards will air Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. on BET and Centric.