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BET and the American Black Film Festival to produce the 2016 ABFF Awards

Regina King at the 73rd Golden Globes show at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 10, 2016. King will also be honored at the 2016 ABFF Awards.

Regina King at the 73rd Golden Globes show at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 10, 2016. King will also be honored at the 2016 ABFF Awards.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

BET Networks and the American Black Film Festival are partnering up to produce the 2016 ABFF Awards: A Celebration of Hollywood, the network announced Monday.

“It’s clear that there’s a need for this show,” said Stephen Hill, president of programming at BET Networks, before speaking to how excited BET is to partner with ABFF. “2015 was ripe with tremendous and inspiring performances by African Americans and we are beyond thrilled to be the ones to recognize them with class and admiration,” Hill continued.

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The need that Hill speaks of is likely in response to the continuing controversy swirling around this year’s Academy Awards ceremony and the fact that for the second consecutive year, not a single person of color was recognized with an acting nomination.

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“Twenty years ago, I created the American Black Film Festival to spotlight the rich diversity of talent and achievement,” said Jeff Friday. founder and CEO of ABFF. “It was born out of my love for film and desire to ensure that black people gained opportunity and equity in every arena of Hollywood,” he said.

The awards show will be hosted by actor and comedian Mike Epps (“Survivor’s Remorse”) and will celebrate black culture, as well as recognizing individuals, films, and television shows of the last year that affected American entertainment. The awards also look to recognize those individuals who champion diversity and inclusion inside Hollywood.

Some of the individuals the awards hope to recognize have already been announced, including Regina King (“American Crime”) and Don Cheadle (“House of Lies”), who are receiving Excellence in the Arts awards, as well as director Ryan Coogler (“Creed”), who is receiving the Rising Star award. Actress Diahann Carroll (“Julia”) and producer Will Packer (“Straight Outta Compton”) will also be recognized for their lifelong contributions to Hollywood.

The 2016 ABFF Awards will air Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. on BET and Centric.

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libby.hill@latimes.com

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