After over two decades in existence, ABFF the premier festival for black film-makers and content creators of all stripes continues to shine. The American Black Film Festival remains one of the hottest black travel destination events in the U.S. Kudos to Jeff and Nicole Friday, creators and co-founders, of this long-standing black travel event that consistently encourages, supports and celebrates people and projects that mainstream Hollywood doesn’t always give their proper due.
“Hot content, cool people” was this year’s tag line and ABFF didn’t disappoint. World premier movies, independent film screenings, informative panels, networking and plenty of partying were all on the packed agenda. With only two full days in South Beach, Malinda and I had to pace ourselves.
Malinda was there to promote her film project Loved to Death, (premiering on TvOne July 21st at 8pm), and to participate in the festival’s staged reading event, Celebrity Scene Stealers — with author Demetria L. Lucas, Tanika Ray, Chyna Layne and Roshon Fegan. Fortunately, the event’s late afternoon start time allowed us to hit the beach for a bit of morning movement and meditation. It’s one of our favorite ways to start the day— even when we’re not traveling.
Once Malinda’s official duties were complete we were able to relax, network with old friends and make quite a few new ones along the way. The lobby of the host hotel Loews, Miami Beach was full of entertainment industry insiders, journalists and festival goers. We were never far from a familiar face and made plenty of connections.
This year’s HBO Comedy Showcase was one the highlight’s of the event for us. Malinda and I love comedy and the all six finalists in the competition were hilarious. Host Deon Cole kept us in stitches throughout and it felt like we laughed for a solid two hours. I hope HBO airs it sometime soon so y’all can share in the laughter.
We weren’t able to catch all of the screenings this year, but you can head over to BlackFilm.com for a full recap and rundown of premiers, screenings and award winners from industry veteran Wilson Morales. The final awards event included a moving tribute to the late, pioneering director— John Singleton. His daughter Justice Singleton joined Jeff Friday on stage to share memories of her late father and to announce a new filmmaker’s award created in his honor to launch at ABFF, 2020.
After the show was the after party and actors, festival goers, journalists, executives and sponsors all celebrated another successful year by sweating out clothes and hairdos until the wee hours. We stayed long enough to catch a vibe, but begged off early for a morning flight to Belize. We’re looking forward to next year. Perhaps we’ll see you there.