When Jarvee E. Hutcherson, the National President of the Multicultural Motion Picture Association and Executive Producer of the 16th Annual Diversity Awards joined with Richard Balin, Director of the award ceremony, they knew they had something special. Taking place at Universal’s Globe Theatre, the event was hosted by Laura Sanchez (Fox 11 Television Anchor) and James R Black (professional football player turned actor and now showing in Starter Wife.)
Catered by Wolfgang Puck, the evening began with a red carpet and a silent auction. Such things as a safari trip to Africa, the Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe picture, and original signed pictures of Barak Obama, our President Elect, were offered for sale.
The red carpet included the likes of Amy Francis, Esteben Powell and Robert Munic – stars and co creator of The Cleaners on A&E; Diane English (awarded best adapted screenplay for The Women); and Ruby Dee Davis (lifetime achievement.). It was an honor to see the legendary Ruby Davis who has done so much for diversity in her time on the stage.
Gina Prince Blythewood (Visionary Award for The Secret Life of Bees) appeared along with Nate Parker (Male Nova award from the Secret Life of Bees.) I you have not seen it yet, drop everything and go now. It is a must have movie.
Native Indian, Mallika Sherawat (Renaissance Artist Award) stunned us all with her flowing green gown.
Others joining the carpet were handsome Kenneth Johnson and Gregory Cruz from Saving Grace and Bravo’s talented Cori Abraham (VP of Development) and Jennifer Levy (Director of Development.) Sally Kirkland, on the board of directors for MMPA, flourishing a beautiful purple scarf and was joined by the wonderfully outrageous Dr. Shelia and producer Jeff Rector.
Bravo received the Diverse Programming Network award, while Til Death received favorite comedy and Army Wives had the honor of the favorite drama, along with Saving Grace and The Cleaner. ESPN’s documentary Black Magic won Best Non-Theatrical Release
Entertainment included Motown’s Brenda Holloway and the band, Sink to See.
The after part at The Kress in Hollywood was a marvelous event and every bit as exciting as the awards dinner, earlier. I spent the time talking with publicist Deborah Hayter , Sally Kirkland and comedian Linnell.
So for filmmakers out there think of diversity when you cast – it just might make your story more interesting.
For more information for next year’s event or help in diversifying your project call the MMPA at 310 358 8300 or visit www.thediversityawards.org