ABFF opened with Director Rick Famuyiwa’s “Dope” on Thursday evening at SVA. The coming of age comedy/drama out June 19 is one of the most anticipated films of the summer and has a mega team behind it including Pharrell, Forest Whitaker and Diddy as producers. Director Rick Famuyiwa and cast Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Chanel Iman, Blake Anderson, Quincy Brown, Kap G, producers Mimi Valdes and Nina Yang Bongiovi all walked the red carpet. They were joined by ABFF Ambassador Taraji P. Henson, ABFF Founder Jeff Friday, honoree Jenifer Lewis, Tasha Smith, Naturi Naughton, actor Cory Hardrict.

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Festival founder Jeff Friday reflected on how far the festival has come. “This is amazing because when I started this 19 years ago, I just wanted to get friends together like Halle Berry, and John Singleton, and Robert Townsend, and I am just trying to get friends together to hang out and talk about movies.  And something really magical happened.  I realized at that point that there was no platform for filmmakers of color to support each other.  So this has become that big love fest where we get together, support each other, and people are accessible, people like Taraji come out, to show the world that although she is at the height of her career, she is taking time to be with us and so it has been fantastic.”

Producer Nina Yang Bongiovi spoke about working with Pharrell on the film. “He was such a beautiful soul and cares about artists as much as Forest [Whitaker] and I do so it was a perfect collaboration because he brought so much to the table with the music, with also style, and fashion, and everything about culture.  So it was just a perfect complement for us,” she said.


An old school hip hop after party followed at Stage 48. Doug E. Fresh was in attendance.

Photo Credit: ABFF’s Insagram

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Shaina lives, breathes and sleeps entertainment.

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