Regina Hall, Tony Rock and Sanaa
Photo by Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

“It’s not about winning, it’s about celebrating.” These words were uttered by Ice Cube as he accepted the first Best Picture All Def Movie Award for “Straight Outta Compton” at the inaugural ADMA show. The show’s co-creator, Russell Simmons, made a five-year deal with Fusion, so he expects the new awards to continue in years to come. Simmons also made a point of saying that he had nothing to do with the scheduling of the show, which Fusion is airing opposite this year’s ABC’s Oscar telecast.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (5593902fh) Ice Cube and DJ Pooh All Def Movie Awards, Los Angeles, America - 24 Feb 2016

The ADMA show is not your typical awards show by any stretch of the imagination, and that’s intentional, as Sanjay Sharma, president and CEO of All Def Digital explained. “Four weeks ago, this was an idea. In 10 days, the real thing has come together,” he said. “We’re a multiplatform company. We’re nimble in our DNA. We took the franchise in comedy that we built; we noticed it was all right there in front of us, like the end of ‘The Usual Suspects.’ We thought, ‘Why don’t we take the opportunity to turn this event that’s near the Oscars and hosted by Tony Rock?’

“And the idea became a themed event and a comedic jab, which a lot of people are writing about,” Sharma continued. “The intention is to fill a generational and cultural gap, like the MTV Movie Awards originally did, with categories that are fun and speak to youth culture. The Oscars will never have a Best Bad Muhf–ka category. Hopefully next year, Idris Elba will be nominated for something, Stefan James will be nominated for ‘Race’; hopefully, there will be more inclusion in the Oscars. That doesn’t mean the problem is solved or that we won’t have a meaningful award franchise.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (5593902co) Terry Crews All Def Movie Awards, Los Angeles, America - 24 Feb 2016 First Annual All Def Movie Awards Celebrating Diversity and Entertainment Broadcast on Fusion Feb 28 @ 7pm

The talent at the ADMA’s brought their best jokes and high spirits to what was more party than award show. In between previously taped segments, awards with tongue-in-cheek titles were handed out. The Most Quoted Movie went to “Friday.” Best Bad Muhf—ka, presented by Terry Crews, went to Denzel Washington in “Training Day” (he wasn’t there to accept), and Most Likely to Steal Your Girl went to the never-shy Amber Rose, who thanked God and joked to Russell Simmons that she was surprised to win, since she stole so many b–ches from him. The more traditional awards included best actor, which went to Michael B. Jordan for his performance in “Creed,” best actress to Sanaa Lathan for “The Perfect Guy” and best picture to “Straight Outta Compton,” which was met with long, loud cheers.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (5593902by) Amber Rose All Def Movie Awards, Los Angeles, America - 24 Feb 2016 First Annual All Def Movie Awards Celebrating Diversity and Entertainment Broadcast on Fusion Feb 28 @ 7pm

Tyrese Gibson presented the segment honoring Will Smith with the ADMA Lifetime Achievement Award and, after thanking Simmons for making the event happen, Gibson noted that Smith had conquered music, TV and movies, while remaining a decent person. “He’s become this industry’s undisputed king of the box office,” Gibson said. “We all grew up on Will Smith. He’s our family.”

Then Gibson called up Smith’s longtime friend Charlie Mack to accept the award for Smith, who was out of town working on a film. In one of the evening’s most interesting moments, Gibson opined: “If you really got a problem with diversity, it starts at home. Black people are hating on black people. We need to fix it at home first. That’s where it starts. If you’ve got the goods and are selecting a director or writer, give the opportunities to us, keep it in the family. That’s how you change the game.”

In Smith’s taped message, he thanked Simmons, joking that “Russell called me four days ago and said, ‘We’re gonna honor you in 10 minutes, can you make it?” Smith also shared that this was his first lifetime achievement award and said, “My grandmother told me, ‘Whatever you touch, make it better,’ every project, every person I came in contact with. I took it the wrong way for a little while when [DJ Jazzy] Jeff and I first went on the road—  I would try to meet a new woman everywhere I went and try to touch her and make her better. I’m going to keep swinging and do everything I can to do projects that improve lives.” Then, closing with a smile, Smith joked, “The real reason why me and Jada couldn’t make it was because Russell wasn’t honoring enough white people.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (5593902fl) Snoop Dogg and Mike Epps All Def Movie Awards, Los Angeles, America - 24 Feb 2016

Christoph Waltz received the Most Helpful White Person award, which Snoop Dogg presented and Robin Thicke accepted on Waltz’s behalf.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (5593902ct) Robin Thicke and Marlon Wayans All Def Movie Awards, Los Angeles, America - 24 Feb 2016 First Annual All Def Movie Awards Celebrating Diversity and Entertainment Broadcast on Fusion Feb 28 @ 7pm

Norman Lear was given the Vanguard Award for his groundbreaking work in television with shows like “All in the Family,” “Good Times” and “The Jeffersons.” Lear was attending another event for climate change, so he sent a warm taped message to thank the ADMA crowd.

Writer-director-actor Robert Townsend had a hit comedy in 1987 with “Hollywood Shuffle” and spoke to being an Academy member now and what the ADMAs could do to help with diversity awareness: “To honor diversity in Hollywood, you have a lot of talented filmmakers that haven’t been acknowledged. The discussion is, how do we get more movies made for people of color? Because when you think in terms of how many movies come out of Hollywood, we’re talking 300 or 400 movies are made, and when it comes to diversity, there are maybe eight or nine and of those; maybe four are worthy of Academy [Award consideration].

“This discussion is needed, not just for the African-American community, for the Latino community, for the Asian community,” Townsend went on. “I think this discussion is good because the bottom line is money. There’s an audience out there. When you think about a Kevin Hart, these films are outgrossing big blockbusters. What Russell has done is to elevate the conversation and look at diversity. You gotta celebrate Russell because he’s always gonna push the envelope farther. The categories tonight are fun, and that’s what we go to the movies for: to have a good time. We give the awards in our vernacular.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (5593902fj) Russell Simmons All Def Movie Awards, Los Angeles, America - 24 Feb 2016

On the press line, Simmons made his point of view crystal clear: “Many African-American films were overlooked this year. ‘Dope’ was a masterful film and a beautiful film. The cultural subtleties that young people see couldn’t possibly be seen by the elders who make choices at the Academy. We want to give these movies exposure.” Simmons also thinks “Creed,” “Straight Outta Compton,” Jordan, and O’Shea Jackson Jr. were worthy of Oscar nominations. With the ADMAs, Simmons says, “I hope people see some of the movies they might not have seen, some of the artists they might not have recognized. People who were not celebrated will be celebrated because of this. That’s my intention, my prayer for this.”

The All Def Movie Awards air Sunday February 28 on Fusion.

The winners are as follows:

Best Picture
“Straight Outta Compton”
Accepted by Ice Cube and O’Shea Jackson

Best Helpful White Person
Christoph Waltz
Presented by Snoop Dogg and accepted by Robin Thicke

Best Bad Muh Fu$&a Award
Denzel Washington
Presented by Terry Crews

Vanguard Award
Norman Lear
Presented by Jerrod Carmichael

Most Quoted Movie
Presented to Ice Cube

Lifetime Achievement Award
Will Smith
Presented by Tyrese Gibson

Best Black Survivor in a Movie
Ice Cube as Danny Rich in Anaconda
presented by Gary Owen

Most Likely to Steal Your Girl Award
Amber Rose

Best Actress
Sanaa Nathan
“The Perfect Guy”

Best Actor
Michael B. Jordan

Best Director
Ryan Coogler

(All Photos: Michael Buckner/Variety/Shutterstock)

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