The Foundation for the Augmentation of African-Americans in Film (FAAAF)’s Black Reel Awards continued its push for excellence by welcoming 24 new members to their voting academy who will select the nominees and winners of the organization’s prestigious annual awards.
This year, FAAAF is pleased to announce a distinguished group of industry professionals with impeccable qualification throughout the film and entertainment industry will continue to enhance the organization’s credibility, as well as lend their expertise to assisting the Foundation in showcasing outstanding work from African-Americans, as well as those throughout the African diaspora.
Among the invitees are producer and L.A. Film Fest director, Stephanie Allain, showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker (Luke Cage), songwriter/musician/actress Nona Hendryx, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Roger Ross Williams (Music By Prudence), screenwriter Richard Wesley (Uptown Saturday Night, Let’s Do It Again), and author Zane. The latest additions bring the total of the Foundation’s four voting branches to 99 members.
The Foundation also focused on expanding the organization’s mission to spotlight on World Cinema in some of their choices, as well.
In 2013, the Foundation eliminated group voting and created a new voting academy, comprised of four branches: film, independent, music and television, that will be responsible for nominating the films and performances in the categories.
Over the course of the initial 16 years, the Foundation has tinkered with the structure of the awards trinity: feature, independent and television film categories. After operating with a “15-3-8” structure, FAAAF Executive Director and Black Reel Awards CEO Tim Gordon announced that the awards will expand from 26 categories to 28, adopting an updated “13-7-8” structure that will allow the awards to increase the focus on cinema from the African diaspora.
Gordon also announced several changes to various categories, including the Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, which had been split into both male and female, have been merged into a single category. In addition, there were other new additions to spotlight the diaspora, including four “Next Generation” categories: World Cinema, Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Outstanding Emerging Director, and Outstanding Breakthrough Screenwriter category,
While much of the attention during the last awards cycle was focused on diversity in Hollywood, Gordon has FAAAF’S eyes on a larger prize. “North America is one-third of the world population and since our inception, we have done a sub-par job of honoring the films from the African continent and the Caribbean. It is our desire that we need to do a better job and we will accomplish this mission.”
Here are the 2016 invitees:
Kellin Chavez – Film Critic, Latino Review
Grae Drake – Film Critic, CNN, Rotten Tomatoes
Shanti Das – Music Industry Executive, The Hip-Hop Professional
Nona Hendryx – Musician, Songwriter, Actress, LaBelle
Stephanie Allain – Film Producer, “Biker Boyz,” “Hustle & Flow,” “Something New,” “Beyond the Lights”
Dwayne Johnson-Cochran – Screenwriter, Producer, Director, “Love and Action in Chicago,” “Be Known”
Jerry Lamothe – Screenwriter, Producer, Director, “Amour Infinity,” “Blackout”
Tina Mabry – Screenwriter, Director, Producer, “Mississippi Damned,” “Queen Sugar”
Monty Ross – Director, Producer, “She’s Gotta Have It,” “School Daze,” “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X”
Ya’ke Smith – Screenwriter, Director, Producer, The Second Coming, Katrina’s Son, Wolf
Purpelle Tramble – Independent Filmmaker
Maya Washington – Writer, Director, “White Space”
Richard Wesley – Playwright, Screenwriter, “Uptown Saturday Night,” “Let’s Do It Again,” “Bojangles”
Cheo Hodari Coker – Writer, Producer, “Notorious,” “Southland,” “Luke Cage”
Clayton Davis – Television Critic, Awards Circuit
Suzzanne Douglas – Actress, Singer, Producer, “Tap,” “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “Jason’s Lyric,” “Sounder”
Tosha Whitten-Griggs – Publicity Consultant, Screen Actors Guild Awards, TV One Network, Interscope Records
Melvin Jackson, Jr. – Writer, Producer, Director and CEO of Urban Vision Entertainment
Taneshia Nash Laird – Member-at-Large, Legacy Business Advisors, My Image Studios – MIST Harlem
Bayer Mack – Producer, “The Czar of Black Hollywood”
Charles Murray – Writer, Director, Producer, “Things Never Said,” “Castle,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Star”
Tracy Scott – Member-at-Large, USA Today, BET
Zane – Author, “Addicted,” “Zane’s Sex Chronicles,” “The Jump Off”