Kerry Washington, Janelle Monáe, Courtney B. Vance and more receive ABFF Honors
The star-studded ceremony took place on Sunday, March 5, in West Hollywood, California.
Over the weekend, the 2023 American Black Film Festival (ABFF) Honors celebrated Kerry Washington, Janelle Monáe, Courtney B. Vance and more at the fifth annual ceremony.
As theGrio previously reported, the ABFF Honors celebrates prominent work in the motion picture industry, with a night dubbed, “A Celebration of Excellence In Hollywood.” Hosted by Deon Cole, the event was filled with inspirational and powerful speeches from the honorees. Kerry Washington, producer, director and actor known for projects such as “Scandal,” “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Django Unchained” and her upcoming series “UnPrisoned,” was celebrated with the Excellence in the Arts Award (Female).
In her acceptance speech, Washington spoke to how “important” and “extraordinary” an event like ABFF Honors is in Hollywood, recalling Diahann Carroll’s acceptance speech when she won the Legacy Award. “When she came up here to collect her award I remember her remarking at how special this evening was and how extraordinary and important the event felt,” she explained. “She was thrilled that evening to be instead in community. To be one of many. To be steeped in a glow of Black excellence everywhere she looked.”
She added, “We have something that Diahann did not. We have each other. We have rooms like this. We have community. We have each other, right? So today we get to live in the truth that not only is there room for more than one of us at the table, there is strength and power in numbers.”
Janelle Monáe, the singer, writer and actress fresh off her acclaimed performance in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” used her speech accepting the Renaissance Award to speak to the power of storytelling. She said, “It’s a real privilege to be able to tell stories, whether it’s in music, through film, through TV, through fashion, that’s the way that I approach it.”
“That’s the only thing we have,” she explained. “Stories to leave beyond, to leave behind to the next generation of people, to give them the coordinates, to reach to next level in the game.”
Emmy Award winner Vance, who took home the Excellence in the Arts Award (Male), used his speech to recognize generations that came before us. “Our very history as African Americans is under attack,” he explained. “For years we’ve had to be satisfied from crumbs from the master’s table, what a blessing is it that we live in a time where we can tell our own stories,” he said. “I thank God for all of those trailblazers, those pioneers, those frontiersmen and women who had only negative images of themselves to serve as guides.”
Charles D. King, founder and CEO of production company MACRO, was celebrated with the Industry Leadership Award and urged his fellow creators to continue to collaborate with each other. “What I see here in this room is the power of what happens when we come together,” he explained. “Let’s all come out of this to figure out how we are going to collaborate with each other [and] open up more doors.”
Finally, the Classic Cinema Award went to director Kasi Lemmons and the cast of “Eve’s Bayou,” which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. Lemmons, as well as cast members Meagan Good, Victoria Rowell and Lynn Whitfield took to the stage to accept the award.
For more on the ABFF Honors, head to the official site here.
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