Black Excellence at its Finest Honored at Revolution Awards

By Keydra Manns

Just when you thought Black excellence was being over looked and #oscarssowhite was running the show, here comes the Revolution Awards giving life and inspiring folks just in time for Black history month.

Held at the SVA Theater and presented by ImageNation, The Revolution Awards was designed to honor distinguished creatives of color in the film industry.

Honorees for the evening included MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry, CSI’s Hill Harper, The Walking Dead’s Dania Gurira, and “Oscar” nominated director Ava Duverney.

In conjunction with celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the revolutionary Black Panthers activist group Black Lives Matter also received recognition.

Founder of ImageNation Moikgansti Kgama spoke with Harlem Focus about the honorees and the mission of ImageNation. “We are honoring some amazing heavy hitters here tonight” says Kgama. “They are all people that we admire and that really understand our mission. They were happy to be honored and we are happy to honor them.”

In highlight of the resurgence of the #oscarssowhite controversy it was interesting to hear the honorees responses to the lack of diversity in Hollywood.

“For me the one that was a soul crusher was the baby from New Orleans who played Easy E in “Straight Outta Compton” says Melissa Harris Perry.

“Any white actor, who would have played an iconic musician, would have gotten a nod. I’m not saying he would have won but, that kid and the range that he played, it just seemed like a clear oversight and it really made me angry.”

Oscars so white is one issue our country is faced with amongst many when it pertains to diversity and equal opportunities for all Americans. It’s baffling that in 2016 the discussion of race and discrimination is such a taboo of a topic that we have an inability to discuss it articulately, let alone fix it.

“We don’t have good ways of talking about race in this country” says Perry. For me the inability to talk about it doesn’t represent bias. It represents a failure in a very big way that all of us have an inability to talk about race. “I see people who struggle to talk about race that have really good intentions and I see people with very bad intentions struggle to talk about it.”

There were two films being debuted after the honorees received their awards. Heartbreaking film 1982 starring Hill Harper, in which Hill plays the role of a single father, raising his daughter in Philadelphia, while his wife battles addiction in the wake of the crack area.

The Cycle, a short film produced by media personality Sway Calloway confronts the cycle of police brutality against Black men. Sway has been a power player in the world of media for decades and is deserving of his tenure. It was enlightening to hear his thoughts on #oscarssowhite since he switched it up from in front of the camera, to producing behind the scenes.

“Everyone is different and it is great to get those accolades, if this film won an Oscar I would be happy to accept it” says Sway.

“But, at the same time it doesn’t define the journey or the purpose that I am a part of. Secondly, you may not get it from them but you will get it from the people. There are other folks that respect how talented we are as creators in Hollywood because it is obvious and apparent. Whether or not the Oscars acknowledge us it doesn’t define who folks are.”

For more on the Revolution Awards visit

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