Russell Simmons Honors the Honorable: The All Def Movie Awards 2016
All Def Digital, the fastest growing video programming brand in Hip Hop and Youth Culture hosted the unanticipated All Def Movie Awards just days before the Oscars at the World Famous TCL Chinese Theatres. The live event was hosted on February 24, 2016 by comedian, Tony Rock. Members of the public voted for two categories of Best Picture and Most Quoted Movie. Other awards honored Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director as well as Best Bad Muh F**ka and other overlooked categories, such as Best Helpful White Person and Best Black Survivor in a movie.
The All Def Movie Awards, which were held just yards from the Academy Awards stage, featured a Black Carpet for celebrity presenters, arrivals and VIP guests such as Robert Townsend, Tony Roberts and Bill Duke. The show featured a special live musical performance, before, during and after the show on all of All Def Digital’s social channels, including Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and Periscope.
“If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself…With that in mind, I have teamed up (I guess I didn’t do it myself) with ADD to bring you the ‘All Inclusive’, All Def Movie Awards. This is the award show Hollywood has been waiting for.” said Tony Rock.
Added Russell Simmons, Founder and Chairman of All Def Digital, “I don’t expect a 90-year old Academy member to see Straight Outta Compton or vote for it. I’m more concerned that in 2016 there continues to be a stunning lack of diversity in the studios, in the green light process, in the decisions of what films and television series get made and what actors get chosen. This needs to be addressed institutionally. The All Def Movie Awards are not the Black Oscars but they could be. This will be a fun, entertaining and hopefully thought provoking celebration of the uncelebrated.”
The YouTube presentation of the awards opens with Kendrick Lamar’s We Gon Be Alright and fades into a scene from the Blaxploitation film, The Mack (1973) starring Max Julien as Goldie. The award itself is fashioned into the likeness of Goldie in street pimp regalia, complete with a walking stick and wide brim hat. The award is referred to as, “The Goldie”. Receiving his award for the movie Friday under the category of Best Quoted Movie along with DJ Pooh who helped him to write the film, Ice Cube says “We definitely proud of Friday. You know it’s one of those movies that you wish to have, you know. It’s one of those hood classics. That’s what you’re really looking for when you’re in this business. Like my man Bill Duke with Car Wash. Yeah. You want one of those movies that everybody love and Friday’s one of those movies. Thank you, Russ! I been waiting to get this pimp for a long time my whole career and now we got his a**.”
Watching the award show from the black point of view, I shifted in my seat a few times hoping not to be embarrassed. To be honest, sometimes it is very easy to go red-faced when a black person speaks for us on a Hollywood platform. I was so pleasantly surprised. While the award show seemed to be a very well scripted In Living Color or Chappelle Show comedy skit, I was not at all mad at the ab crunching jokes and the pride that shined brightly on all faces. The entire wardrobe was classy, the stage and set was not overdone and all of the scripted podium speeches were well crafted, funny, relevant and perfectly timed.
Straying from the proper newsletter fashion, the following is a list of the categories, celebrity presenters and award recipients. Be warned that most of the (ah-hem) “categories” are quite unconventional and absolutely hilarious.
Best Actress – Presented by Regina Hall
THE WINNER: Sanaa Lathan – The Perfect Guy
“It’s important for little boys and girls of color to see themselves on-screen…and hopefully Hollywood is about to wake the f**k up!” - Sanaa Lathan
Best Actor – No Presenter
THE WINNER: Michael B. Jordan - Creed
Best Director – No Presenter
THE WINNER: Ryan Coogler - Creed
Best Picture: Presented by Mike Epps and Snoop Dog
THE WINNER: Straight Outta Compton
Most Quoted Movie: Presented by Affion Crockett and Cassie
THE WINNER: FRIDAY
You Know Damned Well They Should have Gotten that Award: Presented by DL Hughley and JB Smoove
“This award is honoring actors and actresses that got robbed for the films you know they shoulda’ won." - DL Hughley
Denzel Washington – Malcolm X
Angela Bassett – What’s Love Got to do With It
Oprah Winfrey – The Color Purple
Best Black Survivor in a Movie: Presented by Gary Owen
WINNER: Ice Cube – Anaconda
Most Helpful White Person in a Movie – Presented by Marlon Wayans
WINNER: Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained (accepted by Robin Thicke)
Most Likely to Steal Your Girl in a Movie– Presented by Quincy Brown and Karuchi Tran
WINNER: Amber Rose
Best Bad Muh F**kr in a Movie – Presented by Terry Crews
WINNER: Denzel Washington – Training Day
Vanguard Award: Presented by Gerard Carmichael
HONOREE: Norman Lear, Television Writter for the classic black themed Television shows Good Times, Sanford & Son and The Jeffersons.
“I’m thrilled to be presented with this award. I’m very glad to have said yes to this honor. I appreciate it very much. Thank you, Russell. Thank you Gerard.”
Lifetime Achievement Award: Presented by Tony Rock
HONOREE: Will Smith, for his acting work in television and movies including, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Six Degrees of Separation, Independence Day, Hitch, Men in Black, Ali, Pursuit of Happyness, Bad Boys, Concussion and others.
To throw two cents of opinion in here, my jaw dropped when Friday beat The Color Purple in the Most Quoted Movie category. Come on! Most of the people I know can recite that movie word for word. Friday is a strong second at best! And who would have thought that Amber Rose would beat Idris Elba in the category Most Likely to Steal Your Girl? It seems that there is always some shirtless picture of Mr. Elba on my Facebook timeline posted by infatuated women with some dark chocolate brotha dreams. Oh, well. Who knew?
The All Def Movie Awards show leaves you with the feeling of nostalgia and pride that most black actors and their viewers have been denied for decades. The categories may not have been cliché but they were not only enjoyable but well deserved. Russell Simmons brought us Def Poetry Jam, Def Comedy Jam and now the All Def Movie Awards, which has provided recognition and open doors where many were closed to people of color. In class act fashion, Mr. Simmons closed out the show with a positive, honest and strong message and his signature departing quote.
“I want to talk just a little bit about why we’re doing it. It’s not really a protest. It’s a celebration. It’s a celebration of a lot of people who otherwise would not be celebrated. And here we are with the most compassionate group of activists on the planet and still we live in the most segregated place on the planet right here in Hollywood. It’s two sided. Some of us have to know that the doors are halfway open and we gotta push them open (entirely). I’d say to White Hollywood, you gotta have your door open. You gotta open your door. You’re loosin money. You’re picking all the wrong black people sometimes. There were so many comedians overlooked until Kevin Hart and he made himself. They don’t come out to the comedy clubs. Not an agent in the room.
I want us from our side to push forward. If you are a black promoter at a venue, put some white people on your show even if you don’t want to. We gotta be more inclusive. It’s not only on them but it’s mostly on them. I really appreciate the work The Academy is doing to try to integrate. We got a black producer and a black lead. We got a black head of The Academy. So they’re working really hard and I appreciate it but it didn’t happen without pressure. I want to thank Jada Pinkett (Smith) for her words of encouragement. Pressure makes the diamond. Hollywood, we can get better. Thank you for coming out. God bless you! Good night!”
Hopefully we will see a second annual All Def Movies Awards show in 2017 as well as more inclusion of movie titles, Actors and Actresses, Directors and Writers who are people of color to The Academy Awards. Their inclusion is way overdue as they are educated, experienced, talented, funny, and well deserving of the honors as others.