Chicago, ILThe African American Arts Alliance (AAAA) will host the 20th annual Black Excellence Awards, an evening celebrating Black artists, Black voices, and Black stories across artistic disciplines, on November 10, 2020 at 7pm. The 2020 virtual celebration will honor selected awardees who have exhibited artistic excellence. The virtual event, to be broadcast on Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/aaaachicago or the African American Arts Alliance's YouTube page, is free and open to the public.
The Black Excellence Awards provides recognition of professional African American artists for their achievements of excellence and creativity in the arts. The committee, made up of 32 community members that review artists in each discipline, has evaluated performances and works by artists across the artistic disciplines of film, music, theater, dance, literature, visual arts, and digital media. Due to COVID-19, the Black Excellence Committee was hindered in viewing work this year. Therefore, it was decided that the sub-committees of the Black Excellence Committee would choose 1-2 artists from their specific discipline to honor, no matter when their work was produced.
"The Black Excellence Awards have been honoring Black artists for the past 20 years. 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," comments AAAA Board Chair and Black Ensemble Theater Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor.
The honorees, who will be recognized at the virtual ceremony on November 10, are:
Company: Red Clay Dance and Vershawn Sanders-Ward
Choreography: Rueben Echoles
Artist: Paul Branton
Gallery: Gallery Guichard
Journalism: Rosalind Cummings-Yeates
Author: Dr. Eve L. Ewing
Vocalist: Joan Collaso
Vocalist: Dawn Bless
Writer & Director: April Tylon-Warren, Sunshine Day
Director: Anton DeShawn, Call Center
Web Series Creator: Patrick Wimp, Brothers from the Suburbs
Production: The Master Comic, MPAACT
Director: Runako Jahi, The Master Comic, MPAACT
Actor: Donn Carl Harper, The Master Comic, MPAACT
Actress: Shenise Brown, The Master Comic, MPAACT
Technical Support: Andrei Onegin, various productions
John Ruffin, Theatre 47 in Park Forest
Lifetime Legacy Award
In previous years, several artists in each category were nominated by committee members then voted upon. Due to the shift caused by the pandemic, the nomination and selection process was streamlined. There is no slate of nominees, rather a single awardee, identified as having exhibited artistic distinction, for each category. More information is available at www.aaaachicago.org/2020-black-excellence-awards .
About the African American Arts Alliance
In 1997 a group of Chicago's leading African American artists and arts organizations came together and formed a new organization; incorporated as the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago. This organization embraced the history of the original 1977 Chicago Black Theater Alliance while expanding their scope to include diverse groups of artistic mediums which includes theaters, dance, music, literature, film, visual arts organizations, and individuals.
The mission of the African American Art Alliance is to increase public awareness, interaction, communication, and development of African American arts organizations and artists within the city of Chicago.