The “Black-ish” star and executive producer is only the second actor to receive the honor from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), after Phylicia Rashad was awarded the comparable Outstanding Achievement in Television prize during the inaugural edition of the festival in 2013.
“Laurence Fishburne is one of the most influential and inspiring actors of his generation. His career is marked with powerful performances across film, TV and Broadway including ‘The Matrix,’ ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It,’ ‘The Tuskegee Airmen,’ ‘Thurgood,’ and his current acting and executive producing role on ‘Black-ish,’” said SCAD aTVfest Executive Director Christina Routhier. “We are honored to recognize and celebrate this legend at the 2021 SCAD aTVfest.”
A star on screen and stage, Fishburne began his acting career working in television, landing a role on “One Life to Live” at age 10. In the more than four decades since, Fishburne has starred in “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Hannibal,” and “TriBeCa” (for which he won his first Primetime Emmy in 1993). Fishburne won his second Emmy as executive producer and star of 1997’s “Miss Evers’ Boys,” earned an NAACP Image Award and Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for his work in the 1995 TV movie “The Tuskegee Airmen,” and three Emmy nods for producing “Black-ish.” In Sept. 2020, Fishburne collected a third Emmy for his performance in Quibi’s “#FreeRayshawn.”
Also in September, it was announced that his “Black-ish” character, Earl “Pops” Johnson, would headline a spinoff titled “Old-ish,” opposite Jenifer Lewis. Fishburne serves as an executive producer on the ABC comedy and its spinoffs “Grown-ish” and “Mixed-ish” under his Cinema Gypsy Productions banner (founded in 2000 with his manager and producing partner Helen Sugland.)
The Georgia-based television festival is in its ninth year and will be presented virtually, due to the ongoing pandemic. The lineup of previously announced honorees includes Bryan Cranston (“Your Honor”), who will receive the Icon Award; Cynthia Erivo (“Genius: Aretha”), who will receive the Spotlight Award; Javicia Leslie (“Batwoman”), who will receive the Rising Star Award, Chrissy Metz (“This Is Us”), who will receive the Vanguard Award; Jurnee Smollett (“Lovecraft Country”), who will receive the Distinguished Performance Awards; and Kenan Thompson (“Kenan”), who will receive the Virtuoso Award.
The 2021 event, which runs from Feb. 4-6, will also feature screenings of ABC, Amazon, Apple TV plus, CBS, The CW, Freeform, HBO, HBO Max, HGTV, Hulu, National Geographic, Netflix, NBC, OWN and Showtime programming and panel discussions with the casts.
For a full schedule of events, visit atvfest.com.