*2017 has been a year for black cinema with films like “Moonlight,” “Hidden Figures” and “Fences” at the helm of excellence.

ABFI/American Black Film Institute knows how to honor and celebrate these extraordinarily worthy films and the people that made them happen.

To begin, the evening took place at Prestons-over-Hollywood in the Hollywood Loews Hotel on Friday, February 24, 2017 with a star-studded red carpet, food, DJ, champagne and beautiful black brothers and sisters of the industry.

The glamorous event was hosted by Shuan Robinson and guests like Gabrielle Dennis, Kandi Burress, Judge Faith, Michael Jai White, Wren Brown, Mona Scott Young and more. ABFI honored rising stars like Jesse T. Usher, breakout star Issa Rae and Janelle Monae, Oscar winner Barry Jenkins and the one and only Angela Bassett. Bassett snagged the Reel Icon Award! And let’s face it, Angela is one of the best actresses in the world. Not just America, not just within black entertainment. Angela Bassett was touched by the hand of God. Period. The board of ABFI recognized this and honored the talented beauty. She is well deserving of the honor.  Don’t ever forget that. As I praised her extensive resume, she was so humble about it. We even shared a laugh when I said, “Forget an Oscar, I’m touching a Bassett.” Take a look in the video above.

lacora &angela bassett

barry jenkins & lacora

Another honorable mention on the carpet was a little known director from Dade County, Florida that the world currently can’t keep quiet about: Barry Jenkins of “Moonlight.” The crazy thing is, at this point, we should all know about him, but he walked the carpet and not one person stopped him except for EURweb. The connection for me outside of his original piece “Medicine for Melancholy,” (side note: If you haven’t seen this…see it NOW!) was the fact that he attended school with my close college friends from Miami. So I kindly called him out and he graciously stopped.  He even gave a shout out to all the high schoolers in the drama club at North Western High School (Miami). What a stand-up guy. Despite the high pressure of taking the title of best film, Jenkins may have revealed the secret weapon that got him the win.  Forget what you think you know about “why” or “how” it happened, or the ridiculous mix-up, something took place months and months before he accepted the award. Watch the video to find out!

His last words were to “Dream with the idea that it’s okay to fail.” Not bad.  Not bad at all. As a hyphenated entertainer and host, I will gladly accept those words of advice.  It can be used in all aspects of life, so go for it, dream big my EURweb readers!

About our associate: LaCora Stephens is a journalist, talk show host and editor. Contact her at www.LaCoraStephens.com