The past few months have seen major attention being brought to the lack of diversity and recognition of minorities in Hollywood, specifically with #OscarsSoWhite. Taking the opposite approach to the Academy, the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) Awards chose to exclusively celebrate Black films.
Choosing to uplift rather than harp on the disappointment of the various mainstream snubs, the event recognized the likes of John Singleton, Ryan Coogler, and the casts of Straight Outta Compton and Black-ish, to name a few.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Singleton, who was honored with the 2016 AAFCA Legacy Award, said he was "tired of having the [diversity] conversation."
"We've been fighting for inclusion ever since the chains have been put on," he said during his acceptance speech. "Sometimes, when you make such an emphasis on inclusion, you lose sight of the big picture, you lose sight of what the big end game is. In terms of pop culture in this country, we've already won the end game."
Speaking directly on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, he said, "It doesn't matter if a certain organization, whether it's the Academy, or another organization excludes our Black artists. We know that what we do no matter what is going to propagate over time. It's going to change not only our own people, but everybody else."
Another trailblazer honored throughout the night was Creed director Ryan Coogler, who received the award for Best Director.
"What me and Michael [B. Jordan] would talk about is 'Will our people feel it?'" he said. "We make this big huge movie and we want it to be successful both domestic and internationally but how much of us do we put into it? How will we measure if our people will feel it? It's no true way to ever measure getting an award like this from film critics like you guys, from an organization like this, to be able to share the stage with legends like this. It's the best feeling an artist can have."
Other notable winners throughout the night included Will Smith (Best Actor for Concussion), Tessa Thompson (Best Supporting Actress for Creed), Michael B. Jordan (Breakout Performance for Creed), Teyonah Parris (Best Actress for Chi-Raq), and more. See the full list of winners, here.
Check out what Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith had to say on #OscarsSoWhite with BET Breaks below:
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(Photo: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for AAFCA)