Solidifying the relatively new marriage between BET and the American Black Film Festival, the network and org joined together again for the BET Experience during its awards show weekend in downtown Los Angeles. L.A. Live held the film fest, titled ABFF Encore, in addition to BET’s annual concert series and expos to expand its once music-centered weekend of events further into television and film.
“We did our first award show together in response to #OscarsSoWhite, and this was the outgrowth of that,” said BET president Debra Lee. “It allows us to shine more light on what’s happening in Hollywood.”
ABFF Encore consisted of multiple screenings of African-American films, as well as panels featuring “Black-ish” showrunner Kenya Barris, actor-director Robert Townsend (“Hollywood Shuffle,” “The Parent ‘Hood”) and actress Tasha Smith (“Empire”). Moderated by Nischelle Turner, Barris spoke candidly to a room of nearly 40 people on Saturday about his experience in entertainment and his keys to success within the industry.
“I’m the only black dude or woman in Hollywood that has a comedy overall deal,” Barris told the audience, full of aspiring writers, directors and actors. “I feel like that’s really sad that there’s 300 others and one black dude? That doesn’t make me feel good; there’s nothing proud in that. That’s what I’m fighting against.”
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SOURCE: Variety – Mannie Holmes