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BET Partners with American Black Film Festival for ABFF Awards 2016

BET Networks will partner with the American Black Film Festival to produce and televise the “ABFF Awards: A Celebration of Hollywood,” the network announced Monday.

The ceremony will be hosted by actor Mike Epps and air Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. on BET and Centric.

The show will celebrate black culture and honor 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. This year’s event will be taped Sunday, Feb. 21 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.

Actress Diahann Carroll will be presented with the Hollywood Legacy Award, and television and film producer Will Packer will receive the Distinguished ABFF Alumni Award. The Excellence in the Arts Awards will go to actors/directors Don Cheadle and Regina King, while the ABFF Awards will honor “Creed” director Ryan Coogler with the Rising Star prize.

“Twenty years ago, I created the American Black Film Festival to spotlight the rich diversity of talent and achievement. It was born out of my love for film and desire to ensure that Black people gained opportunity and equity in every arena of Hollywood. I am truly honored to partner with BET to showcase the work of our most talented artists,” said Jeff Friday, ABFF Founder and CEO, in a statement.

“It’s clear that there’s a need for this show. BET is very excited to partner with Jeff and ABFF to present ‘A Celebration of Hollywood.’ We will unabashedly acknowledge performances and achievements of African-Americans on screen from this past year and give special honor and recognition to artists that have thrilled us during their highly acclaimed careers. 2015 was ripe with tremendous and inspiring performances by African-Americans and we are beyond thrilled to be the ones to recognize them with class and admiration,” added Stephen Hill, President of Programming, BET Networks.

The announcement comes amid the ongoing debate surrounding the lack of diversity in the entertainment industry, after the Academy Awards failed to nominate any actors of color for the second year running.

“The ABFF Awards: A Celebration of Hollywood” is an ABFF Ventures production and is executive produced by show creator Jeff Friday, Debra Lee, Stephen Hill, Jesse Collins, Suzanne de Passe and Connie Orlando.

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