×

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.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Juntos

    Juntos Films Production House Launches in Chile with Ambitious Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    Francisco Hervé of Panchito Films, Moisés Sepúlveda from Madriguera Films and Daniela Raviola, three of Chile’s most exciting international-minded independent producers, have together launched a new indie production house, Juntos Films. Hervé has written, directed (“The Power of Speech,” “The Lost City”) and produced (María Paz González ‘s “Daughter”) several feature films, documentaries and TV [...]

  • Noele trailer Anna Kendrick

    Disney Unveils 'Noelle' Trailer Starring Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader

    Among the many announcements at the D23 Expo, Disney debuted the first look at holiday feature “Noelle,” which is set to premiere exclusively on Disney Plus this fall. “It isn’t Christmas without Santa’s Sister,” Walt Disney Studios said of the film on Twitter. Starring Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader, the Christmas flick tells the story [...]

  • A Hidden Life Movie Austria

    Film News Roundup: Austin Festival Selects Terrence Malick's 'A Hidden Life'

    In today’s film news roundup, the Austin Film Festival selects a Terrence Malick title, “A Day Without a Mexican” gets a sequel and DCR Finance signs a first-look deal. FESTIVAL SCREENING The Austin Film Festival will screen Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life,” which won the Francois Chalais and Ecumenical Jury awards at the Cannes Film [...]

  • Blake Lively

    Blake Lively's 'Rhythm Section' Moved Back to 2020

    Paramount Pictures has moved the release date of Blake Lively’s “The Rhythm Section” back two months from Nov. 22 to Jan. 31, 2020, the weekend of Super Bowl LIV. The spy tale, adapted from Mark Burnell’s novels surrounding character Stephanie Patrick, is produced by James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson through their [...]

  • The Mandalorian

    'The Mandalorian': Watch the First Trailer for 'Star Wars' Series

    The gunslinging lone warrior — the Mandalorian, as they call him — calls the far reaches of the “Star Wars” galaxy home. Disney dropped the first trailer for the spinoff series during its biennial D23 convention on Friday, finally giving fans a closer look at the franchise’s newest character. “The Mandalorian” creator Jon Favreau, who [...]

  • Lady and the Tramp trailer

    'Lady and the Tramp': Disney's Live-Action Remake Gets First Trailer (Watch)

    Ready your dog-friendly bowl of spaghetti, Disney has debuted the first trailer for its live-action remake of “Lady and the Tramp,” starring Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux. The teaser was released during Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim at the Disney + presentation. In addition to Thompson and Theroux, who play the Lady and Tramp, respectively, [...]

  • Mickey Mouse waves to members of

    Spider-Man, Spicer and Splashy First-Looks: Everything We're Looking For at D23

    As if Disney hasn’t owned enough weekends this year at the box office, the biennial D23 Expo will light up Anaheim, Calif. over the next three days to celebrate the content monolith. From a new Netflix-competing streaming platform to scores of movie and series reveals — along with a few hot controversies to confront — [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content