Angela Bassett, Kerry Washington, Effie T. Brown and Debra Martin Chase have been named special honorees at the 2023 Black Reel Awards.
The Black Reel Awards — also known as “The Bolts” — are an annual awards ceremony hosted by the Foundation for the Augmentation of African Americans in Film (FAAAF) recognizing the “excellence of African Americans and the cinematic achievements of the African diaspora in the global film industry.” The 23rd annual ceremony, presented in partnership with idobi Radio, will take place on Feb. 6, 2023.
“Since its inception, the Black Reel Awards have remained at the forefront of acknowledging the accomplishments of exceptional Black creatives. Each of these women has left an indelible mark on cinematic history and the culture,” said Black Reel Award founder and CEO Tim Gordon in a statement. “Idobi shares our passion for excellence, and together we take great delight in honoring this prolific group of icons.”
Bassett will be presented with the Sidney Poitier Trailblazer Award, a honor that salutes incredible acting talent, with previous winners including Cicely Tyson and Laurence Fishburne. Bassett is also nominated for outstanding supporting actress for her performance in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” which earned a total of 14 nominations (tied with “The Woman King” as the most-nominated film).
Chase will be honored with the Oscar Micheaux Impact Award, previously awarded to Spike Lee and Suzanne de Passe. One of the most bankable producers in Hollywood, Chase is behind “The Princess Diaries,” “The Cheetah Girls,” “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” “Cinderella” (1997) and “The Equalizer” series on CBS, starring Queen Latifah.
Washington was selected to receive the Ruby Dee Humanitarian award in honor of her philanthropic work, supporting nearly 30 foundations and charities, including the NAACP, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Peace Over Violence, Save the Children and the Cancer Research Institute. This award was previously presented to Oprah Winfrey and Chaz Ebert.
This year’s Vanguard Award goes to Brown, producer of groundbreaking films like “But I’m a Cheerleader,” “Dear White People,” “Real Women Have Curves” and the 2023 awards contender “The Inspection.” The film, written and directed by Elegance Bratton, is also nominated for 10 Black Reel Awards, including outstanding independent film. Past winners of the Vanguard Award include Jamie Foxx, Nate Moore and Halle Berry.
During the ceremony, the quartet of Hollywood powerhouses will accept four honorary Bolt statuettes, made of platinum and gold, described as being “symbolic of flowers laid at the feet of these queens who continue to uplift Black cinematic excellence.” Variety can exclusively reveal the design for the trophies, pictured below.