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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Kenya Barris, Janet Mock give inspiring speeches at AAFCA TV Honors

Black Hollywood comes together virtually to celebrate African American excellence in TV and film

Some of Hollywood’s biggest names gathered virtually to celebrate the 2nd annual AAFCA TV Honors on Saturday.

John Legend, Viola Davis, Sterling K. Brown, Mindy Kaling, Rashida Jones, Josh Gad, and Leslie Odom, Jr. were among the long list of celebrities in attendance of the event that honored visionary creatives including the night’s special honorees, Janet Mock and Kenya Barris

Presenters like Octavia Spencer and William Jackson Harper handed out 11 awards at the event hosted by actress/comedian Aida Rodriguez and sponsored by Morgan Stanley. 

Rashida Jones presented the ICON Award to her #BlackAF costar, Kenya Barris, who delivered a touching speech highlighting why this award was particularly important to him. 

“Right now, we are living in a time of a lot of pain, particularly for African Americans — Black pain. And I think that during this time, I’ve often looked at ‘What is the place of comedy? And is this a place and a time for comedy?’” he said during his acceptance speech.

Read More: Viola Davis, LeBron James among honorees at AAFCA TV Honors

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 21: Kenya Barris speaks onstage at The 75th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street on May 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Peabody Awards)

“Comedy is best presented when it comes from pain. It’s the medicine that allows you to take in, with a spoonful of sugar, what we’ve gone through. I think that as Black people it’s what we have been best at doing. And I think that being able to receive this award from my peers and from my family, during this time, is more impactful to me than it could be ever, and will ever be for me at any other time.”

Janet Mock, who wrote and directed on the hit FX series, Pose, shared inspirational remarks when she accepted the AdColor Creative Breakout Award. 

Read More: Janet Mock to direct Jeremy Pope as Sammy Davis Jr. in ‘Scandalous!’

“As we continue to struggle for Black people, we must also include Black trans people, Black queer people, Black disabled people, all of the Black people, my people…There are many ways to go about doing this work and I aim to do my part by wielding my pen, my vision and my voice like a weapon against racism, sexism, transphobia, ableism and the erasure of Black and indigenous people,” she said.

(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for AFI)

“I truly believe that telling our stories is a revolutionary act. Stories have always helped me; they’ve always been my refuge. I wrote my books, my scripts direct my projects solely focused on centering myself in ways no other book or show had done before. I create for the girl I once was, longing and searching for herself in the creation of others on screen.”

The star-studded event put on by the African American Film Critics Association celebrates the excellence, innovation, and diversity in television over the past year. The virtual event also took time to honor the important work done by government leaders, first responders, reporters, and others by featuring these local heroes as presenters during the show. 

A portion of the proceeds were donated to the NABJ COVID-19 Relief Fund.

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