For over a decade, singer Raheem DeVaughn has been on a mission to create music that evokes change while maintaining the energy of love. Today he pushes that goal forward with the release of his latest single, “Marvin Used To Say.” The poignant and timely song speaks directly to the ongoing social turmoil and the unfortunate fact that not enough has changed since fellow D.C.-native Marvin Gaye asked “What’s Going On?” nearly 50 years ago.
Over a soothing, guitar-driven track produced by The Colleagues, DeVaughn sings the plight of the people, the sometimes disheartening feeling that our prayers fall on deaf ears and even the added uncertainty created by COVID-19. But he also sings hope and encouragement, not just through the song’s lyrics, but with a direct shout out to community and thought leaders like activist Tamika D. Mallory, journalist Angela Rye and rapper Mysonne.
Arriving on the anniversary of the March On Washington, “Marvin Used To Say” also serves to introduce Raheem DeVaughn’s eighth studio album, “What A Time To Be In Love”. Produced entirely by The Colleagues, the forthcoming project finds the three-time Grammy Nominated crooner fully embracing what he sees as his social responsibility: to inspire and encourage his listeners as they fight for justice and equality. While the album is defined as Movement Music, DeVaughn recognizes the importance of also nurturing and encouraging the emotional connections needed to sustain us during this fight. As such, fans can also expect the new album to embody and reflect the musical legacy that has earned the singer his place amongst R&B royalty as the “Love King.”
Director: Phillip Yaw Domfeh
Screenwriter: Phillip Yaw Domfeh
Producers: Priya Domfeh, Taylor Rae, Phillip Yaw Domfeh
Cast: Emily Anne Browning, Amanda Tarver, Candice Renee, Bret VandenBos, Sire Dhone
Logline: Afraid that she’ll be negatively associated with unfavorable patrons of a Jamaican Restaurant, a white woman falsely claims to be the distant cousin of mid 2000s Dancehall Super Star Sean Paul
Director: Moise Morancy
Screenwriter: Moise Morancy
Cast: Moise Morancy, Teren Carter, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Kayden Jackson, Chinyere Stevens, Marc-Antoine Louis, Rodrikus Springfield, Keenan Scott II
Logline: “When a Tree Falls,” tells the story of a 19-year-old African-American male who is caught in the cycle of poverty, drugs and violence. One day he finds out a devastating secret that will change his life forever.
ABFF Narrative Features - U.S.
ABFF: HBO Short Film Competition
Director: Letia Soloman
Screenwriter: Wes Akwuobi
Producers: Anne Brashier, C. Craig Patterson, Ben Cory Jones
Cast: Nigel Cox, Kerrice Brooks, Juan Gil, O’Shay Neal, Nelcie Souffrant, Alexander Robinson, Michael Devon
Logline: A young Black rapper in Philadelphia must confront his sexuality when he finally gets the chance to perform on the big stage.
UMC and Partners in Rhyme (MC Lyte & Bentley Kyle Evans) have teamed up for a national casting call for a leading role in the new UMC series.
6:00 pm EST: Immediately followed by IG Live Takeover with MC Lyte.
This year the festival will host its Legendary All-White Party on opening night. Join us in your White Attire. Celebrity drop-ins include MC Lyte to announce the winner of the Partners in Rhyme National Casting Call.
Music by: DJ Kiss & M.O.S.
Join Zoom Meeting: https://abff.zoom.us/j/81480038171
Meeting ID: 814 8003 8171
Saturday, August 22
A conversation with Kenya Barris on his career as writer/producer and creator of the hit television series black-ish, which generated two spin-offs, grown-ish and mixed-ish, and the Netflix original series #blackAF, his life behind and now in front of the camera, as well as his new projects.
Moderator: Angela Rye, Host, On 1 podcast
Sunday, August 23
Join NBC and Universal Television’s senior executives for an illuminating conversation as they walk aspiring show creators through the progression of a TV series from both the network and studio perspectives. Get an inside look at how these separate entities work together from development to series pick-up and what decision-makers are looking for when considering a project. This crash course on the pitch-to-production cycle will also touch on how to transform a story for episodic life after the festival circuit.
Comedian/Actor Yvonne Orji (Insecure) hosts a funny and insightful discussion with Lil Rel Howery (LIVE in Crenshaw, HBO Comedy Special) and four of the former winners of the Comedy Wings Competition.
Monday, August 24
AspireTV presents the short film Endangered with a talk-back discussion featuring the writer, director, producer and lead actors of this relevant, powerful and provocative film.
Nakia Stephens, Writer
Shanay Campbell, Producer
Kiana Woodson, Director
Abdul Quddus, Lead Actor
Bianca Bethune, Lead Actor
Senior Black executives from across the WarnerMedia brands discuss their careers and trajectories in entertainment. While people of color experience significant adversity in this industry, many have and continue to climb the corporate entertainment ladder to break glass ceilings for future executives and creators.
Courtney Armstrong, EVP, Worldwide Business Affairs, Warner Bros. Pictures
Kalia Booker, VP, Drama Programming, HBO
Kevin Fortson, EVP, Production, Warner Horizon Television
Natasha Foster-Owens, VP, Production, HBO
Niija Kuykendall, EVP, Film Production Warner Bros. Pictures
Michael Quigley, EVP, Content Acquisitions for TNT, TBS, truTV, HBO and HBO Max
Moderator: Abby Phillip, Political Correspondent, CNN
Tuesday August 25th
A candid conversation with content creators who have current and upcoming projects at Amazon. Each will highlight their Prime Video titles as well as their respective experiences across the entertainment industry and the importance of diverse and inclusive representation.
Little Marvin (THEM) Creator, Writer and Executive Producer
Lena Waithe (THEM) Executive Producer
Tracy Oliver (Untitled Tracy Oliver Project) Creator, Writer and Executive Producer
Barry Jenkins (The Underground Railroad) Writer, Director, Executive Producer
Tayarisha Poe (Selah and the Spades) Writer, Director
Eugene Ashe (Sylvie’s Love) Writer, Director
Moderator: Latasha Gillespie, Head of Amazon Studios Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Wednesday, August 26
Romany Falco, Night School
Carlos Watson, Host of “The Carlos Watson Show”
Lamorne Morris, Actor, Woke, New Girl
Moderator: Ramcess Jean-Louis, Global Head, Diversity & Inclusion, Verizon Media
Thursday, August 27
Moderator: Delvin Joyce, Managing Director of the South Florida Financial Group, Prudential Financial
Friday, August 28
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson – Executive Producer
Michael Rainey Jr. – Actor/ portrays Tariq St. Patrick
Naturi Naughton – Actor/ portrays Tasha St. Patrick
Mary J. Blige – Actor/ portrays Monet Stewart Tejada
Cliff “Method Man” Smith – Actor/ portrays Davis MacLean
Moderator: Yohana Desta, Editor, Vanity Fair
Saturday, August 29
Sunday, August 30
Garcelle Beauvais from “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”
Gizelle Bryant from “The Real Housewives of Potomac”
Kandi Burruss from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”
Dr. Simone Whitmore from “Married to Medicine Atlanta”
Salena Rochester, Director, Current Production, Bravo
Moderator: Alicia Quarles, Senior News correspondent for DailyMailTV
Best Director – Telva Mcgruder, Cadillac; Lee Daniels, Director (The United States vs. Billie Holliday)
Best U.S. Narrative – Salene Hitchcock-Gear, Prudential Financial and La La Anthony, Actor (The Chi)
Best Screenplay – Sinqua Walls, Actor (BET’s American Soul)
John Singleton Award for Best First Feature – Spike Lee, Director (Da 5 Bloods) and Jeff & Nicole Friday (ABFF)
Best International Narrative – Keith La Goy, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Boris Kodjoe & Nicole Ari Parker
HBO Short Film Award – Bevy Smith, Television Personality (Bevelations sirusXM)
Best Web Series – Keesha Boyd, Comcast and Logan Browning, Actor (Dear White People)
Best Documentary – Latasha Gillespie Amazon Studios and Laz Alonso, Actor (The Boys)
EVENTS PRIOR TO #ABFF EVENTS, PANELS, AND SCREENINGS
Screenwriter: Anthony E. Williams
When you watch the film F.A.M. - Family Always Matter starred and, written by Anthony E. Williams, you will notice the importance of a strong family foundation.
F.A.M. Family Always Matters Stars:
"Trey" - Anthony E. Williams
"Olivia" - Acacia Leigh
"Traci" - Breana Cymore
"Chris" - Moses Jones
"Dara" - Candace West
Director: Kyle Romanek
Screenwriter: Anthony E. Williams
Producers: Sean Morse-Barry, Mallory Cunningham
Q: Growing up in the African American community, when creating and speaking about Olivia's sexuality, how was the conversation presented and the importance of making awareness of being ?
A: I have many friends who advised of the hard conversation with friends and families, to be accepted or explain sexuality, Many families
Q: Dealing with two women and maintaining a #GirlDad relationship, how will the character Trey, maintain a balance relationship?
A: Trey doesn't completely find the balance to maintain the relationship. However, he lets everyone know Olivia is the primary focus in his life. As long as this remains, co-parenting will be extremely effective.
Q: Let's speak about Tracey (Ex-wife): Will Tracey and Dara get along and maintain a cordial relationship for Olivia?
A:: The next few episodes will showcase a roller-coaster of situations, but Tracey will always make sure Olivia is first priority.
Q: Will the Trey's friend, Chris have a recurring role in the series?
A: Yes, you will see Chris and his life throughout, with his family
Q: What should we expect in the upcoming episodes for F.A.M.?
A: Alot of family issues, funny moments and the love of a positive black family co-parenting. The series have more to come and stay tuned to see what's next.
Q: What do you want the viewers to take away from the fi;m, F.A.M. - Family Always Matters?
A: The viewers will take away a different feel to black families on TV, a little bit of "This Is Us' and the quality of "Power"
I truly enjoyed the film and everyone should check it out and definitely share the project.
Watch F.A.M. on www.ABFF.com
STACEY ABRAMS, KENYA BARRIS, MARY J. BLIGE, CURTIS ‘50 CENT’ JACKSON, BARRY JENKINS, GABRIELLE UNION, LENA WAITHE AND MORE TOPLINE PROGRAMMING SLATE FOR 2020 AMERICAN BLACK FILM FESTIVAL
(ABFF), now in its 24th year, will feature a robust slate of speakers including Stacey Abrams,
Kenya Barris, Mary J. Blige, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Barry Jenkins, Gabrielle Union and Lena
Waithe, as well as panels ranging from the business of Hollywood to spotlights on new films and
television series. The festival will offer a mix of live and on demand content from August 21st to 30th at abff.com.
Opening night will feature the HBO Short Film Competition, a platform which has been
responsible for showcasing the early work of such industry notables as Ryan Coogler (Black
Panther), Ben Watkins (Hand of God) and Stephen Caple Jr. (Creed II) followed by a virtual
version of ABFF’s legendary “White Party.” It will close with “The Best of American Black Film
Festival Awards” Ceremony, hosted by Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker and simulcast on
IMDb.com, followed by a post awards celebration. Presenters include: Lee Daniels (The United
States vs. Billie Holiday), Laz Alonso (The Boys), Bevy Smith (BEVELATIONS) Logan Browning
(Dear White People) and Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods).
Jemele Hill will host a Cadillac sponsored one-on-one conversation with Blige, who is this year’s
festival ambassador. In addition to “Conversations With” Blige and Abrams, Angela Rye will
moderate a discussion with Barris. Evening programming will also include “Comics on Comedy”
hosted by Yvonne Orji (Insecure) featuring Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), a screening of Yusuf
Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn, presented by HBO, a first look at the highly anticipated
Universal Pictures film, Candyman with director/co-writer Nia DaCosta, and a panel on the new
animated series Woke from Sony Pictures Entertainment. Additional highlights include a
conversation with directors Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Old Guard), Christine Swanson (The
Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel) and Jacqueline Olive (Always in Season). Amazon
Studios presents a Hot at Amazon panel featuring Barry Jenkins, Lena Waithe and Tracy Oliver;
a Garrett Bradley Time conversation as well as a discussion with Stacy Abrams. STARZ
presents Power Book II: Ghost panel with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Michael Rainey Jr., Naturi
Naughton, Mary J. Blige and Cliff “Method Man” Smith. Netflix brings a discussion with The
40-Year-Old Version writer/director Radha Blank.
There will be opportunities to meet the filmmakers from the competitive categories, panel
discussions on “The Hollywood Executive Experience Through The Black Lens,“ ”Navigating the
Network and Studio Process,” and ”Black Female Perspectives on Directing and Storytelling”
among others. The 90 films featured during the program will be available on demand for the
duration of the festival. The schedule is available here.
“We are gratified by the outpouring of industry support for this year’s ABFF, creating an
opportunity for us to reach a global audience with a broad range of compelling content both live
and on demand,” said Jeff Friday, founder and CEO ABFF Ventures. “Although we plan to be
back in Miami for 2021, this year’s virtual festival enables us to engage with an audience that
might never be able to attend a destination event. Thanks to our sponsors and everyone who
participated, we are able to deliver provocative conversation and compelling entertainment
when our community most needs it.”
Sponsors to date include WarnerMedia, HBO® (Founding), Greater Miami Convention &
Visitors Bureau (Presenting Sponsors); Comcast NBCUniversal, Amazon Studios (Premier
Sponsors); Cadillac, Sony Pictures Entertainment, IMDb, Netflix, Motion Picture Association
(MPA), Jeff Friday Media, Prudential Financial, Starz, a Lionsgate company UMC, Verizon
Media (Official Sponsors); AspireTV, Facebook, Morgan Stanley, and Universal Production
Music (Supporting Sponsors); Blackfilm.com, Film Independent, and Variety (Marketing
For more information on ABFF and up-to-date news, go to abff.com and follow @ABFF on
Twitter and @AmericanBlackFilmFestival on Instagram and Facebook. Join in on the
conversation by using #ABFF20 and #ABFF.
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