Monday, May 27, 2024

The African American Film Critics Association to honor industry innovators

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) will honor innovators and icons representing the best of the entertainment industry at the organization’s 6th Annual AAFCA Special Achievement Awards Luncheon on Saturday, April 8 at the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey. 

The intimate, invitation-only affair will honor trailblazing producer and studio executive Sherry Lansing with the Legacy Award for her prolific contributions to the industry as well as for her philanthropic endeavors. Executive Vice President of TriStar Television Dr. Jennifer Turner will receive the Salute to Excellence Award for her leadership and commitment to quality programming with an eye on inclusive casts and storylines.

President and CEO of Hallmark Media Wonya Lucas will receive the TV Vanguard Award for her vision and leadership in guiding the influential media brand into the future. The documentary A Tree of Life: The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting will receive the Stanley & Karen Kramer Award for shining a light on the 2021 shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, exploring the undercurrent of hate that threatens to destroy America. Rita Cooper Lee, Head of Communications and Publicity, Apple Worldwide Video and Apple TV+, will receive the inaugural Rosalind Stevenson Award for Excellence in Publicity.

Cooper Lee is a founding member of the team that launched the award-winning streaming service, Apple TV+, and has contributed to it making history on multiple fronts since its debut with culture-defining, innovative campaigns. Named after Stevenson’s long and respected career as a motion picture publicist, during which time she created career opportunities for journalists as well as above- and below-the-line film talent.

“Trailblazers and titans abound in this year’s selection of special achievement honorees,” stated AAFCA president and co-founder Gil Robertson. “Recognizing their incredible achievements gives us a moment to reflect on the progress that’s been made as our industry continues to evolve and gives each of us the inspiration needed to tackle our next challenges. AAFCA looks forward to celebrating them.”

Honorees are chosen by a committee and selected on the basis of their achievements throughout the course of their career. They represent individuals both behind and in-front-of the camera, including executives, journalists, actors, crafts artists and filmmakers. Past AAFCA Special Achievement Awards honorees include Edward James Olmos, Ruth E. Carter, Pearlena Igbokwe, Channing Dungey, Tendo Nagenda, Alana Mayo, Jon M. Chu, Wesley Morris and more.



Established in 2003, AAFCA is the premiere body of Black film critics in the world, actively reviewing film and television, with a particular emphasis on entertainment that includes the Black experience and storytellers from the African Diaspora. The organization’s primary mission is to cultivate understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contributions of African descended talent to cinematic and television culture – from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the still unimagined breakthroughs of future generations.  

AAFCA members are a geographically diverse cross-section of journalists, covering all genres of the cinematic arts, while representing multiple mediums – including print, TV, radio broadcast and online. Collectively, they reach a worldwide audience in excess of 150 million. AAFCA is committed to numerous educational and philanthropic efforts, particularly those that foster and celebrate diversity and inclusion. 

For more information on AAFCA and its programs visit

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