The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) is proud to announce that it will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Boyz N the Hood and New Jack City with an all-star tribute and concert celebrating the genre of Hip-Hop cinema.
“The organization felt like it was time to recognize the influence that hip-hop has had on this medium. If you look at film today, the influence of the hip-hop aesthetic is everywhere in cinema across the board and yet seldom is it given any credit. To some degree, AAFCA is about celebrating the unsung, and our membership certainly felt that the architects of hip-hop deserved some recognition,” says AAFCA president/co-founder, Gil Robertson.
“AAFCA’s Celebration of Hip-Hop Cinema” will honor the hundreds of movies that represent the culture of Hip-Hop–from feature films to documentaries–as well as the actors, actresses, and filmmakers involved in those productions.
The organization also announced that John Singleton, CodeBlack’s Jeff Clanagan, The New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis, LeBron James and Plan B will be the recipients of 2016 AAFCA Special Achievement Awards, to be presented during the group’s annual ceremony on February 10, 2016 at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood.
While it seems Hollywood is becoming more diverse, in light of the recent hit of the hip-hop inspired NWA biopic, Straight Outta Compton, there is still much to be done to open up Hollywood’s ranks. Robertson isn’t hopeful. No, “Hollywood hasn’t gotten more diverse, and it probably never will,” he says and adds that people of color must create their own outlets. “Creative business people of color will simply have to pursue innovative ways to build their business and find their audience,” he says.
As evident of the inequality in Hollywood is the huge pay gap between actors of color and white actors. “The people who run Hollywood, run it the way that they like, which is their prerogative. Women and minorities who want ‘in’ will have to either ‘take’ their place or use technology and/or other innovations to break in,” notes Robertson. This is one reason AAFCA has the mission of highlighting Black work in Hollywood, and notables have appreciated its efforts.
“Any movie that I’ve done from Rosewood, Baby Boy, to even Boyz, had certain mixed reviews because people didn’t understand where I was coming from as a filmmaker because they didn’t know anybody like me as a person. So that is why AAFCA is so important,” said director John Singleton in a press statement. Added filmmaker Ava DuVernay, “I think the AAFCA and the work that they do is vital to black filmmakers and black cinema and I celebrate them.”
Established in 2003, the AAFCA is the largest Black film critics organization in the world, representing television, radio, print and online critics.
For this year, Robertson is pulling out all the stops. “This year, we want to further expand the footprint of our organization. We are entering into a number of partnerships that will increase the public’s awareness about our brand in the industry and most notably with our consumer targets,” he explains. “Consistency and quality remain our only two goals. And, to have the work that we do and the people we celebrate reach as many people possible. We are looking to explore digital and mobile platforms this year. TV has remained elusive, but we’ll get there as well. We just want to continue to provide consistent and quality support to journalists and filmmakers of African descent.”