AAFCA TV Honors Cancels Live Event, Goes Virtual; Norman Lear to Be Given Legend Award

The African American Film Critics Association has scrapped its planned in-person ceremony for the 3rd annual AAFCA TV Honors, and will instead now take place as a virtual event. The shift was made in light of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in both Southern California and around the country due to the delta strain of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, AAFCA also announced on Monday that it would recognize legendary TV producer Norman Lear with the org’s AAFCA TV Honors Legend Award. The virtual ceremony takes place on Saturday, Aug. 21 at 4 p.m. PT. Yvette Nicole Brown will host the now-online affair, which had been previously slated for the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey, with a 50 percent audience capacity.

“Norman Lear’s work has made such a tremendous impact that creators still feed off of it till this day,” said AAFCA co-founder and president Gil Robertson. “This award recognizes Mr. Lear’s legacy and impact. His is a footprint whose impact will extend well beyond any of our lives. Using the powerful medium of television, he has truly made the world we live in a much better place. He has made us think about family, poverty, wealth, racism and so much more while making us laugh. And, at 99 years old, he’s still doing it. It is a privilege for AAFCA to honor him with the Legend Award.”

Lear, of course, is known for his groundbreaking series “Maude,” “All in the Family” and “One Day At A Time,” as well as “Good Times,” “The Jeffersons” and “Sanford and Son,” which AAFCA noted were all “Black cast shows that remain epic reminders of the long-lasting impact diversity and inclusion has on the culture at large.”

Lear’s recent credits include the “One Day At A Time” revival with a Latinx cast, and Primetime Emmy awards for “Live in Front of a Studio Audience.”

Lear’s Act III is now busy on an animated version of Lear’s “Good Times,” which has been picked up to series at Netflix, and has a new version of “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” in the works at TBS. Act III is also developing the comedy series “Clean Slate,” starring Laverne Cox and George Wallace, for IMDb TV, and is working with Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland on the anthology series “Notes on Love,” for Netflix. Lear is writing an episode with Aaron Shure. Plus Act III has the Heidi Ewing film “I Carry You with Me” and the Rita Moreno doc “Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It.”

“As I reflect on the past 99 years of life, I think of all of the those who are responsible for helping me make it this far,” said Lear in a statement. “From the Tuskegee Airmen who flew by my side in WWII to the brilliant actors, writers, producers and creators who made me laugh in places I didn’t know existed throughout my career. I’ve said it many times before – laughter adds time to your life. And being fortunate enough to spend time with the likes of Kenya Barris, Dave Chappelle, Laverne Cox, Ava DuVernay, Jamie Foxx, Redd Foxx, Marla Gibbs, Sherman Hemsley, Richard Pryor, Shonda Rhimes, George Wallace, Kerry Washington, and fellow honoree Wanda Sykes – just to name a few – I anticipate living another 99 years. I thank AAFCA for this great honor. I couldn’t be prouder to be in the company of such incredible talent.”

Lear joins a crop of previously announced special achievement honorees for the 3rd annual AAFCA TV Honors that include:

Steve McQueen will receive the 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Game Changer Award for “Small Axe,” his Amazon Studios five-part limited series.

Wanda Sykes (“The Upshaws”) 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.

Naomi Ackie will receive the 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Horizon Award for her standout performances in “Master of None” and “Small Axe.”

Michaela Coel is the recipient of the 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Breakout Creative Award for her limited series “I May Destroy You.”

“Lupin,” Netflix’s cat-and-mouse series set in Paris and starring Omar Sy, nabs 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Best International Production Award.

“Queen Sugar” is the recipient of the 2021 AAFCA TV Honor’s Impact Award.

HBO/HBO Max earns the 2021 AAFCA TV Honors Special Achievement Inclusion Award.

Winners set to be honored at the show include “Lovecraft Country” stars Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors, as well as best drama “Queen Sugar,” best comedy “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” best new show “The Equalizer” and best limited series “The Underground Railroad.”

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