Black Hollywood shined on Sunday, March 3rd at the 6th Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) Honors

By Winsor Barbee

As the Hollywood award season continues, Black stars came out to celebrate excellence at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. Honorees for the night included Excellence in the Arts Award (male) recipient Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction,” “Rustin“), Excellence in the Arts (female) recipient Taraji P. Henson (“The Color Purple,” “Hidden Figures“), Hollywood Legacy Award recipient Garrett Morris, Industry Visionary Award recipient Mara Brock Akil, and Rising Star Award recipient Kelvin Harrison Jr. (“Genius: MLK/X“). Comedian and actor Tommy Davidson served as the evening’s host. Joking about being “bashful,” Davidson said, “I’ve been doing this so long, this is an honor for me to do it.”

As the President of the Juilliard Black Alumni Association, I am always happy to connect with fellow Juilliard alums. I talked with accomplished actor Wendell Pierce. We had a great chat as he remembered the very first ABFF Honors. “I feel as though I have a great duty to those who came before me.” Pierce noted legendary actors such as Ossie Davis, Roscoe Lee Brown, and James Earl Jones as inspiration for him throughout his career. Be sure to watch my friend in his new CBS drama “Elsbeth” as NYPD Captain C.W. Wagner.  Garrett Morris also studied music at Juilliard.

Red carpet chats included Wendell Pierce, Tommy Davidson, Brely Evans (“The Family Business”), Kelley Kali (“Kemba”), and many more. Catch all of my Kickback & Chat with Amber Pickens interviews on the red carpet online at


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