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Black Women Film Network honors Debra L. Lee, Andra Day and Rikki Hughes at the BWFN Summit

The Black Women Film Network (BWFN) Summit took place virtually on Saturday and among the panel sessions and scholarship awards were heartfelt speeches from honorees Andra Day, Debra L. Lee and Rikki Hughes


Black Women Film Network (BWFN) -- the oldest non-profit organization focused on preparing Black women in the film, television, and new media industries -- honored industry power players Debra L. Lee, Andra Day and Rikki Hughes and others during its annual BWFN Summit on Saturday, March 6, 2021

This signature event was a cultural celebration of Black women in the arts and entertainment industry and featured master classes, seminars and activities that connected key industry leaders with aspiring entertainment professionals.

Presented by Cvent, the 2021 BWFN Summit kicked off during Women's History Month and featured 40 Black women professionals from various areas of film and TV. The speakers represented brands such as ColorCreative, BET, WME, NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia, Netflix, Tyler Perry Studios, CNN, Starz and many more. Collectively, their work illustrated this year's Summit theme: "The Revolution Will Be Digitized: Black Women Leading in New Spaces as Multi-hyphenate Creators."

Additional sponsors of the Summit included USC Annenberg, Fritz Eyewear by Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Brooklyn Tea, Mahogany Wick Home, Midnight Reflections, World of Chris Collins, ConditionHER, The Rich Idea, Frances Grey NY, Marcus L. Artis Creative, Create Space Company and Just Ice Productions.

In keeping with a decades-long tradition of investing in the next generation of storytellers, BWFN also awarded three scholarships to college students pursuing careers in film and television.

"As an organization dedicated to supporting, nurturing and championing Black women in film and TV, we are thrilled to have honored trailblazers who exemplify excellence in leadership, artistry and visual storytelling," says BWFN chair Jaunice Sills McSwain. "At BWFN, we have never been more excited about what the future holds for Black women in this industry and look forward to continuing to celebrate our contributions and empowering the next generation of creators at the Summit."

The Summit took place following a phenomenal year for Black women in film and TV. Black women directors released a record number of feature-length films in 2020 including, The Forty-Year-Old Version, Miss Juneteenth, The Old Guard and many more. We ascended to executive positions at major entertainment corporations such as Alana Mayo, President at MGM's Orion Pictures; Tara Duncan, President at Freeform; Wonya Lucas, President and CEO of Crown Media Family Netwoks which includes the Hallmark Channel; and Channing Dungey, Chairman at Warner Bros. Television Group. Additionally, BWFN experienced significant growth in its social media following in 2020, amassing an active network of over 40,000 across its Facebook and Instagram platforms.

The 2021 BWFN Summit honorees where:

  • Debra L. Lee - CEO Emeritus, BET Networks - TrailblazHER Award

  • Andra Day - Golden Globe Nominated Actress & Singer, On Her Shoulders Preservation Award

  • Rikki Hughes - Emmy & Grammy Award-Winning Producer, ProducHER of the Year Award

  • Miki Turner - Award-Winning Photojournalist, Producer & Associate Professor at USC Annenberg, Behind the Lens Award

  • Courtney Neal - Executive Producer & Founder of Create [Space], Black Woman Rising Award

  • Denise Armstrong - Award-Winning Actress, BWFN Member of the Year Award

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