What Does Black Excellence Look Like?

Jotaka Eaddy

Recently, the Black Professional Network (BPN)—which includes Adjetey Clarence Lassey, Bryan Goodson, Charles Pridgen, Joshua Dawson, Terrell Jones, and Jason Thurman—partnered with Ruben Harris, co-founder of Breaking Into Startups, and Black Enterprise, to celebrate black excellence and achievement—and excellent, it was.

 

Celebrating Black Excellence and Achievement (Image: Michael Tembu Ndah – Steadfaster Media)

 

The evening was moderated by former Black Girls Code team member and current Thoughtworks IT consultant and social justice lead, Idalin Bobé, who gave us a direct account of her experience as not only a black woman in tech, but also shared snippets of her life as someone from northern Philadelphia.

“I feel as though starting with yourself—pointing out your flaws and who you are—breaks down barriers,” said Bobé. “When people normally go to networking events, they go with a professional lens. It’s all about your resume, and who you can connect with on a business level, but never on a humanitarian level. I feel as though opening up leads to a much deeper conversation and well-rounded experience for everyone there.”

 

 

This level of depth didn’t stop with Bobé; other speakers included Pastor Michael McBride, an MSNBC/CNN activist and the national director Live Free Campaign and PICO Network; Jotaka Eaddy, former NAACP senior advisor, and head of government affairs at LendUp; Tamika D. Mallory, civil rights leader and the co-chair of the Women’s March; and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO and board member of Green for All, chief care officer at Honor, and a former music executive that has even worked with Prince.

“I believe that the work that I do is really a tribute to all of the homies in the neighborhood that didn’t make it out,” said McBride. “In the [1980s and] 1990s, we all know the crack epidemic really tore our communities up. Many of my loved ones, who got caught up in the streets, are serving life sentences for killings. I don’t know exactly why I made it up, but I thank God for good changes.”

McBride then posed the question, “Will you be a chaplain of the empire or a prophet of the resistance? At the end of the day, we really have a choice.”

 

 

His statements were followed up by Eaddy, who said, “More than anything, I’m just really excited to be among so many change agents, innovators, and real movement builders.”

Eaddy further elaborated on an infamous quote from Gil Scott Heron, “The revolution will not be televised.”

He was right,” Eaddy said. “The revolution will not be televised—it will be livestreamed; it will be tweeted; it will be [posted on] Instagram; it will be [snapped on] Snapchat; and it will be other things that we are probably building right now, or that we have not even thought of [yet]. I say this to [underscore] that the intersection of technology, movement building, and activism is real. We are at such a pivotal moment in our country where the work that we do, every single day, could not be more important.”

 

ABFF Awards Celebrates Black Film and TV Tomorrow on BET

Tomorrow, Feb. 23, all of Hollywood will be tuned in to Centric and BET at 8 p.m. (EST/PST) for the 2016 ABFF Awards: A Celebration of Hollywood.

Hosted by comedian Mike Epps, this star-studded event is the talk of the industry as the ABFF Awards ceremony celebrates black culture and recognizes individuals, movies, and television shows of the past year that have had a significant impact on American entertainment, as well as the people who have been proponents in championing diversity and inclusion in Hollywood.

The perfect counter to #OscarsSoWhite, ABFF and BET step in to lift up the tremendous and recognizable accomplishments blacks have made in the entertainment industry at large. The ceremony will not only honor those who are making strides in film and television today, but also those who blazed trails before us.

[RELATED: ABFF Short Films Premiere on HBO]

The legendary Diahann Carroll, will be presented with the Hollywood Legacy Award at this year’s event. In addition to her honor, television and film producer Will Packer will receive the ABFF Alumni Award, actor/director Don Cheadle will receive the Excellence in the Arts Award - male honoree, and actor/director Regina King will be the female honoree. The Rising Star Award honoree  for the ceremony is none other than director Ryan Coogler.

Check out a few of the awards nominees below:

TV Show of the Year Nominees

Being Mary Jane

Black-ish

Empire

How to Get Away With Murder

Power

Film of the Year Nominees

Beasts of No Nation

Chi-Raq

Concussion

Creed

Dope

Straight Outta Compton

If you’ve haven’t already, check out Black Enterprise’s Instagram for a sneak peek at who hit the red carpet, what was said, and what you can expect at the show.

Be sure to tune in TOMORROW, for the ABFF Awards Show on BET & Centric at 8 p.m. (EST/PST). Tweet @BlackEnterprise with hashtag #ABFFawards to let us know your award recipient predictions and favorite parts of the show!

For more information on the American Black Film Festival and the ABFF Awards:  A Celebration of Hollywood, go to www.ABFF.com, www.ABFF.com/ABFFAwards, www.BET.com and BET.com/ACelebrationOfHollywood.

For information about the 2016 American Black Film Festival check out Black Enterprise (@BlackEnterprise) via social media for constant news and updates.