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I’m getting ready to head to Miami, where Emmy Award-winning producer/director Keenen Ivory Wayans is the honoree at the landmark 15th Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF). In recognition of his success in the film and television industry for nearly 25 years, Wayans will be honored with the Entertainment Icon Award at the festival’s culminating event, ABFF Honors, taking place on Saturday, July 9, at The Fillmore Miami Beach – Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami, FL. Keenen Ivory Wayans’ award presentation will be the highlight of ABFF’s annual awards show, where the festival’s independent film awards are presented and artists are saluted for their achievement in cinema and passionate portrayal of stories about people of color. Past honorees have included Morgan Freeman, Lee Daniels, Spike Lee, Robert Townsend, Russell Simmons and Halle Berry.

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Originally noted for his infamous stand-up routines, Keenen Ivory Wayans was the first from his famed comedic family to gain notoriety. After years of performing on the circuit, in 1987 Wayans produced and co-wrote the hugely successful feature film Eddie Murphy Raw, catapulting his career to the next level. Having established himself as a talented entertainment visionary, Wayans followed up with a successful string of hits including the indie film Hollywood Shuffle and the classic parody of “blaxploitation” films, I’m Gonna Get You Sucka.

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Continuing his success and adding acting to his credits, Wayans broke new ground in television with the Emmy Award-winning Fox comedy series In Living Color. The series single-handedly is credited with launching the careers of such A-list actors Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez and Damon Wayans. The show also introduced the television audience to brothers Shawn and Marlon Wayans.

“Keenen Ivory Wayans is a trailblazer in the truest sense of the word,” states ABFF founder Jeff Friday. “In fact, very few people in the industry have provided such a dynamic platform in cultivating such notable talent and revolutionizing comedy and comedic television. Beyond that, Wayans has proven to be an amazing mentor to his family by nurturing the careers of his siblings in the industry, and we are proud to bestow him with the festival’s highest distinction, especially on our anniversary year.” (Read more)

Visit the American Black Film Festival (www.abff.com) site for all the details for registration and accomadations.

Keep checking back for Robin Downes’ exclusive updates and videos from ABFF.  Check out additional articles by Robin Downes on Elev8.com

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