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VARIETY celebrates the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA)

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The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) is the subject of a special tribute appearing in the September 4th edition of Variety - the world’s leading trade publication covering film and television.  The special spotlight features a comprehensive look at AAFCA’s evolution since its start in the fall of 2003 to its present status as an institution with growing influence in Hollywood. Sponsored by Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment, Variety’s special look at AAFCA includes an interview with AAFCA founders Gil Robertson and Shawn Edwards, as well as tributes from some of the most important names in the entertainment industry.

“The collective members of AAFCA are accomplished journalists who are dedicated to ensuring that the Black experience in film and television is seen, heard, and that stories told through an inclusive lens matter. Morgan Stanley is delighted to partner with an organization that recognizes excellence in the work of a diverse body of directors, writers, producers and, actors in film, television, and new media,” says Sandra Richards, Managing Director and Head of Global Sports & Entertainment and Segment Sales & Engagement Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley.

Fittingly, AAFCA is increasingly recognized for its annual awards show - the AAFCA Awards. Established in 2009, the AAFCA Awards have grown to become a strong bellwether of what films and performances will see success during Hollywood’s awards season.  Long before awards season however, AAFCA is active throughout the year partnering with academic institutions, film festivals and community spaces across the nation in support of its primary mission of outreach as a critical pipeline to the next generation of Black entertainment journalists, film critics, content creators, and audiences including: Synergy - AAFCA’s entertainment industry-focused networking events; select film screenings and discussions of Black films, and participation in numerous festival panels, industry forums, and seminars. Within the industry itself, AAFCA has steadily become a trusted voice of advocacy for diversity and inclusion. 

"We are deeply committed to being a part of “the change we want to see” in our industry,” says AAFCA president, Gil Robertson. “The programs we produce and the filmmakers, writers, producers, executives, and more we support all help to create wider platforms for creators of color as we work to weave diversity and inclusion into the very fabric of our industry.”

Variety’s AAFCA tribute coincides with the organization’s curation of the Turner Classic Movies “The Black Experience on Film,” an eight-part series highlighting 32 iconic films hosted by the organization’s founders and members running throughout September. AAFCA has also partnered with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (the Oscars) to produce a special pipeline program for next gen creators at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Ray Cornelius is one of Atlanta’s newest entertainment writers and media personalities. His arts and entertainment website, www.raycornelius.com spotlights the latest in “positive” African-American celebrity news and was established in 2012. Since that time Cornelius has covered a myriad of red carpet premieres, award shows and Atlanta-based films including Tyler Perry’s Temptation, The BronzeLens Film Festival, The Trumpet Awards, and The Steve Harvey’s Neighborhood Awards just to name a few. He has also interviewed a who’s who list of today’s top singers, actors and reality stars. With nearly 20 years of media experience, Cornelius has also worked as an associate producer for the Emmy-winning public affairs program, ATL Insider and with such award shows as The Soul Train Awards, The Trumpet Awards and BET Hip-Hop Awards.