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African American Arts Alliance Announces Black Excellence Award Honorees

The 20th annual award ceremony will be held virtually on Nov. 10.

CHICAGO: The African American Arts Alliance (AAAA) has announced the honorees for its 20th annual Black Excellence Awards, which will celebrate Black artists, voices, and stories across artistic disciplines. The virtual celebration will take place on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live for free on AAAA’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

“The Black Excellence Awards have been honoring Black artists for the past 20 years,” said AAAA board chair and Black Ensemble Theater founder and CEO Jackie Taylor in a statement. “This year, even though we are not able to gather in the same room, the celebration will go on. In this difficult year for so many people, we need to uplift each other as we celebrate Black achievement and come together to remember the importance of the arts and artists in the Chicago community.”

This year’s honorees include artists in the fields of dance, visual arts, literature, music, film, digital media, and theatre. The theatre honorees include the Ma’at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre (MPAACT) production of The Master Comic as well as director Runako Jahi and actors Donn Carl Harper and Shenise Brown who worked on the production. Also being honored in the theatre category will be Andrei Onegin for technical support. Additionally, AAAA will award a special recognition to Theatre 47’s co-owner John Ruffin, and a lifetime legacy award to director Chuck Smith.

The Black Excellence Awards recognize professional African American artists for their achievements in the arts. A committee made up of 32 community members review artists in each discipline and evaluate performances and works by the artists. Due to COVID-19, rather than have several nominees in each category who were then voted on, the selection process was streamlined, with sub-committees choosing 1-2 artists from their specific discipline to honor. More information on the awards is available online.

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ADV – Billboard