Lena Waithe, Louis Gossett, Jr. to Be Honored by American Black Film Festival

Lorraine Wheat

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The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) announced today it would award “Queen & Slim” writer Lena Waithe and Academy Award-winning actor Louis Gossett, Jr. for their outstanding achievements in entertainment at the 2020 ABFF Honors on Feb. 23 in Los Angeles.

“We’re honored to celebrate these two extraordinary talents,” ABFF Ventures CEO Jeff Friday said. “These awards not only recognize how Mr. Gossett’s contributions have propelled the industry forward but also acknowledge a new generation of trailblazers in people like Ms. Waithe, who will continue to create change and new opportunities in film and television for people of color.”

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Waithe will receive the Industry Renaissance Award for writing and developing works that create opportunities for people of color. In 2017, Waithe became the first African American woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in Comedy Series for “Master of None.” Through her company, Hillman Grad productions, Waithe has inked overall deals with Showtime and now Amazon Prime Video to create comedies and dramas that promote diversity and representation on the screen. Waithe created and executive produced Showtime’s “The Chi,” which is set to return for season 3. Alongside Halle Berry, Waithe also executive produces BET’s “Boomerang” revival series, based on Eddie Murphy’s 1992 romantic comedy, and has a second series (“Twenties”) set to debut on the network in 2020.

Gossett, Jr. will be awarded the Hollywood Legacy Award for his contributions in film and television. The actor made his film debut alongside Sidney Poitier in 1961’s “A Raisin in the Sun.” In 1983, Gosset, Jr. became the first African American to win an Academy Award for best supporting actor for “An Officer and a Gentleman.” He recently starred as Will Reeves on HBO’s “Watchmen.”

Comedian Deon Cole (“Black-ish”) will host the 2020 ABFF Honors, where Cynthia Erivo will accept the Rising Star Award and “The Wire” will be honored with the Classic Television Award.

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