The African American Film Critics Association on Tuesday set its Special Achievement Honorees to be feted at the third annual AAFCA TV Honors August 21. They include Steve McQueen, Wanda Sykes, Naomi Ackie and Michaela Coel.
“We couldn’t be prouder to bestow AAFCA’s highest honors to this remarkable group of honorees responsible for diverse and inclusive content that uplifts and inspires,” said AAFCA president Gil Robertson. “Our hope is that our industry will continue its tremendous strides towards a landscape with diversity and inclusion at its core. Over the past year especially, we have gotten that & more and look forward to a glorious event celebrating the very best of what we can strive to be in both our creative and earthly realms.”
McQueen will receive the 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Game Changer Award for Small Axe, his Amazon Studios five-part limited series chronicling the lives of the West Indian community in London from the 1960s to 1980s.
Sykes will receive the 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Salute to Excellence Award for “expanding the parameters of diversity and inclusion for both the Black and LGBTQ communities, as well as women everywhere in all stages throughout her illustrious career,” the group wrote.
Ackie will receive the 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Horizon Award for her performances in Master of None and Small Axe.
Coel is the recipient of the 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Breakout Creative Award (presented with ADColor) for her limited series I May Destroy You, which tackled sexual assault in the 21st century. “For the series, which aired in both the UK and the U.S., Coel wore several hats, stretching herself as a writer, director, producer, and actor, among other roles. In addition, she raised her voice in support of fair compensation for creatives, as well as diversity and inclusion,” the AFFCA wrote.
Here are the other nominees revealed today, with the AAFCA’s commentary:
Lupin, Netflix’s cat-and-mouse series set in Paris and starring French trailblazer Omar Sy, nabbed the 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Best International Production Award for expanding the terrain, as well as possibilities, for accessible global stories with a Black leading actor.
Queen Sugar, spearheaded by Ava DuVernay on OWN, is the recipient of the 2021 AAFCA TV Honor’s Impact Award for its Season 5 in which it tackled the Covid crisis in the Black community, proving how television can be both compelling while also serving the greater public good.
HBO/HBO Max will be honored with the 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Inclusion Award for the network’s long history of producing transformative diverse and inclusive programming including Lovecraft Country, I May Destroy You, Tina, Insecure, A Black Lady Sketch Show, In Treatment and more just over the last year. The consistency in diverse and inclusive content has made HBO, and its now-companion HBO Max, a model for what the industry can do and continue to do.
Individual winners will be announced at a later date.