You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Idris Elba, Aldis Hodge Salute Black Men in Hollywood at Icon Mann Dinner

As Hollywood prepares to celebrate its biggest night in film, some of the industry’s biggest names in black entertainment — including Idris Elba, Michael Ealy, Boris Kodjoe, Anthony Hemingway, Stephen Hill, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Evan Ross, Leon Bridges and Carl Weathers — packed Mr. C Beverly Hills hotel on Friday to kick off the fourth annual Icon Mann event.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andreas Branch/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (5599152ar) Malcolm Jamal Warner, Boris Kodjoe, Michael Ealy and Richard Roundtree Icon Mann Power 50 Dinner, Inside, Los Angeles, America - 26 Feb 2016

Actors, journalists and Hollywood executives lined the 12th floor Starlight Ballroom — talking, laughing and exchanging handshakes as music played in the background.

The event, which culminates in an exclusive Power 50 dinner, celebrates black men in entertainment and provides a community that fosters support.

“It’s about creating the space for black men to have great fellowship of like-minded consciousness and to come together and talk about how they want to improve the world around them,” said Tamara Houston, founder and CEO of Icon Mann.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andreas Branch/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (5599152aj) Miss Jay Alexander, Tamara Houston and Aaron Walton Icon Mann Power 50 Dinner, Inside, Los Angeles, America - 26 Feb 2016

As a talent manager and producer, Houston said her first goal was to start with entertainers, because of the wealth of influence they carry.

“If we can get those men on a similar thought pattern of connectivity, we’re going to get more diversity in stories, we’re going to get more diversity in character, and what happens when you do that is you start to change a consciousness, and then we are part of the inclusion.”

Honoree Richard Roundtree, who rose to fame for his portrayal in “Shaft,” sparked Houston’s creation of Icon Mann after she heard him say at an Essence Festival that he had never been in a room filled with the fellowship of black people in the industry.

“Given what we’re going through politically and with the Academy Awards, this is an important evening for us to come together and celebrate each other,” Roundtree said. “We are as important as any other man walking, and to not be acknowledged for the successes that we have had is an injustice.”

It was the consensus among the men in the room that diversity in film and entertainment be celebrated –especially with the lack of inclusion with this year’s Oscar nominees.

“We go to the movie theaters and we want to see ourselves on the screen and we want to see the stories that we can tell,” said Steven Caple Jr., whose film “The Land” recently premiered at Sundance. “We have been well-aware of the kind of stories that have been portrayed about us, but there is less and less of us behind the screen or on camera.”

Caple Jr. said he feels it’s one of his responsibilities to showcase ethnic groups on the screen.

“Straight Outta Compton” star Aldis Hodge said the cultural contribution of ethnic groups — Hispanics, Asians, Indians — has been downplayed. “Our audience is a mix of colors. That’s who we service, and we have a responsibility to acknowledge them by showing them that we recognize who they are.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andreas Branch/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (5599152q) Mike Jackson and Aldis Hodge Icon Mann Power 50 Dinner, Inside, Los Angeles, America - 26 Feb 2016

While much of the diversity discussion has centered on the Oscars, the stars in the room felt the discussion needs to go much further — and it isn’t only about recognition.

“The infrastructure of Hollywood is extremely exclusionary,” said Roland Martin, journalist and host of News One Now. “A few will get in and they will rise to a certain level, but that’s it. Michael Bay is worth half a billion dollars. Show me one black director.”

The Oscar controversy did not take away from Icon Mann’s main purpose.

The event, which consisted of a cocktail party, dinner and after-party, also included a performance from Grammy nominated singer Mali Music and a group photo with the honorees.

More Film

  • Mara Watkins Nabhaan Rizwan Steven Wouterlood

    Diverse Talents Pepper Variety's Fifth 10 Europeans to Watch List

    Variety has unveiled its fifth edition of 10 Europeans to Watch, spotlighting 10 rising talents from across the continent who are poised for breakthroughs in 2019. The selection includes emerging actors, directors, showrunners and cinematographers from six countries whose dynamic talents are being showcased on screens big and small, and on both sides of the camera. [...]

  • Glass Movie

    Box Office: 'Glass' Shines Overseas With $48.5 Million Weekend

    After autobots and aquatic kings have dominated foreign markets over the past few weeks, a different kind of hero has risen to the top of box office charts. M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is the new champ overseas, pulling in $48.5 million from international territories. The supernatural thriller, a sequel to 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2016’s “Split,” debuted [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    'Roma' and 'The Favourite' Lead London Critics' Circle Winners

    After ruling the U.S. critics’ award circuit, “Roma” continued its dominance on the other side of the pond, as the London Film Critics’ Circle announced its winners tonight. A week after landing seven BAFTA nominations, Alfonso Cuarón’s Mexico City memory piece landed film of the year and director of the year honors from the group [...]

  • M. Night Shyamalan Should Stop Writing

    The Big Twist M. Night Shyamalan Needs: He Should Stop Writing His Own Scripts (Column)

    Quick, name the greatest film by each of the following directors: Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, David Lean, Robert Altman, Roman Polanski, Kathryn Bigelow, Jonathan Demme. Answers will vary (mine would be: “Psycho,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Nashville,” “Chinatown,” “The Hurt Locker,” “The Silence of the Lambs”), but whatever your taste, odds are that [...]

  • Andy Vajna Dead: 'Rambo' Producer and

    Andy Vajna, 'Rambo' Producer, Dies at 74

    Andy Vajna, executive producer of several “Rambo” films as well as “Total Recall” and several “Terminator” movies, died Sunday in Budapest after a long illness. He was 74. The Hungarian National Film Fund confirmed his death, calling him a “dominant figure in the Hungarian and international film industry” who was responsible for the development of [...]

  • Glass trailer

    Box Office: 'Glass' Dominates MLK Weekend With $47 Million

    M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” topped box office charts during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, collecting $40 million over the weekend for a four-day sum of $47 million. If estimates hold, “Glass” will come in behind “American Sniper” ($107 million) and “Ride Along” ($48 million) as the third-best showing for both January and MLK holiday [...]

  • FICG Names Estrella Araiza As New

    Estrella Araiza To Head Up Guadalajara Intl Film Festival

    The Guadalajara Intl. Film Festival (FICG) has announced that Estrella Araiza, until now the festival’s head of industry and markets and director of the Guadalajara IntL. Film Festival in Los Angeles, has been promoted to the position of general director of the prominent Mexican festival. She replaces Ivan Trujillo, appointed director of TV UNAM. Araiza [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content