‘Lovecraft Country,’ ‘The Underground Railroad,’ ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’ lead African American Film Critics Association TV honors
Winners will be honored in a private COVID-compliant ceremony August 21 to be hosted by Yvette Nicole Brown
The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) today announced the winners for its COVID-compliant edition of its 3rd Annual AAFCA TV Honors. Held virtually last year, AAFCA TV Honors led the way in incorporating first responders in a celebration that included Viola Davis and Sterling K. Brown.
This year, AAFCA honored a number of outstanding shows, creators, and performers, including CBS’s “The Equalizer” starring Queen Latifah as Best New Show and Robin Thede’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show” on HBO as Best Comedy. HBO’s critically acclaimed “Lovecraft Country” stars Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors will be honored as Best Actress and Best Actor. HBO and Raoul Peck’s “Exterminate All the Brutes” and Netflix’s “High On the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America” take top docuseries honors. “Sylvie’s Love,” starring Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha, scored Best Movie honors, while Barry Jenkins and his visual adaptation of “The Underground Railroad” nabbed Best Director and Best Limited Series honors. Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar,” won AAFCA’s inaugural Impact Award, in addition to accolades for Best TV Drama and TV Writing.
“This year’s honorees reflect a healthy variety of content that is not only entertaining but also mirrors the diversity of storytelling within the Black community. The TV Honors jury recognizes a multitude of voices, both emerging and established, whose work attests to the heterogeneity of the Black experience,” stated AAFCA co-founder and President Gil Robertson. “We, at AAFCA, are excited by these winners, as well as the previously announced Special Achievement honorees, because we are most hopeful that the vast array of offerings this year point to a permanent shift in the quality and depth of storytelling capturing the Black experience on television.”
Robertson continues, “Although ‘Sylvie’s Love,’ for example, is set in civil rights era America –love, career aspirations, and the ‘what ifs’ of life, not race, is the focus, which is a huge departure for film or any other content of this era highlighting the Black experience. ‘Queen Sugar,’ tackled both the pandemic and the police killing of George Floyd from a uniquely nuanced and complex Black perspective, chronicling a variety of viewpoints within the community at large. Both ‘Exterminate All the Brutes’ and ‘High on the Hog’ used nonfiction storytelling very effectively. ‘Exterminate All the Brutes’ interrogates the origins of racism and racial subjugation, while ‘High on the Hog’ presents an eye-opening overview of the vast contributions of African Americans to the culinary heritage of this nation that are often overlooked or, worse, unknown.
Then we have Robin Thede crushing barriers for Black women in comedy with ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show,’ Barry Jenkins cementing himself as one of the industry’s most-talented directors with his stunning adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-winning book, The Underground Railroad, Queen Latifah’s triumphant television return in a new format with the reboot of ‘The Equalizer’ and, of course, multi-talented Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors, anchors of Misha Green’s daring sci-fi fantasy ‘Lovecraft Country,’ as Best Actress and Actor.”
“It’s a robust slate that we believe is reflective of a new normal regarding diversity and inclusion for TV.”
The AAFCA TV Honors will be COVID-compliant with the ceremony taking place at the exterior of the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey from 11am-2pm on Saturday, August 21, 2021. Verified vaccinated-complete entry only will be permitted, plus the guest list will be reduced by 50 percent from previous ceremonies. In addition, a COVID Counselor will be on-site throughout the program.
Actress, writer, producer, and comedian Yvette Nicole Brown will serve as the host. Known for such memorable roles as Shirley Bennett on the highly-regarded comedy series “Community” Sand the voices of Cookie, Principal Amanda Waller and Luna on “Pound Puppies,” “D.C. Superhero Girls” and “Elena of Avalor” respectively, Brown has carved out a Hollywood career all her own. “The Big Fib” host and “Big Shot” star, both seen on Disney+, has also had success as the writer and executive producer of the 2019 indie film, “Always a Bridesmaid,” starring “Batwoman” star Javicia Leslie.
“Yvette is such a natural,” Robertson shared. “Her wit, her humor, and her ability to make people feel at ease are so essential to pulling off a successful show, especially during these times. We, at AAFCA, are delighted to have her.”
Yvette Nicole Brown adds, “I am honored that the African American Film Critics Association asked me to host this year’s TV Honors Ceremony. The AAFCA celebrates the best and brightest of our community. They honor our excellence, craft and yes, MAGIC. It is my sincere pleasure & joy to be a part of that magic this year!”
Music Supervisor (part of the creative teams of “LA’s Finest”, “Rim of The World,” “Luca” and “Halston”) and international DJ Francesca Harding will head up the ceremony’s music.
Winners also join previously announced special honorees Steve McQueen, Wanda Sykes, Naomi Ackie, Michaela Coel, HBO/HBO MAX, “Lupin” and “Queen Sugar.”
A full list of honorees follows:
2021 AAFCA TV HONORS AWARD RECIPIENTS
• Best Actress: Jurnee Smollett, “Lovecraft Country,” HBO
• Best Actor: Jonathan Majors, “Lovecraft Country,” HBO
• Best Drama: “Queen Sugar,” OWN
• Best Comedy: “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” HBO
• Best New Show: “The Equalizer,” CBS
• Best Limited Series: “The Underground Railroad,” Amazon Prime Video
• Best Docuseries: “Exterminate All the Brutes,” HBO and “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America,” Netflix
• Best Writing: “Queen Sugar,” OWN
• Best Director: Barry Jenkins, “The Underground Railroad,” Amazon Prime Video
• Best Movie: “Sylvie’s Love,” Amazon Prime Video