LeToya Luckett and Spike Lee celebrate the kickoff to the 2017 American Black Film Festival at a luncheon in South Beach, Miami (Soul Brother)

The Root is in Miami! And sure, it’s because the world is a scary place and we need a moment away, but it’s also the 21st annual American Black Film Festival.

The festival kicked off with a welcome lunch by one of its hugest sponsors, Cadillac. We gathered in Miami’s sweltering heat to fellowship, but we were also given the gift of an “Art of Daring” conversation with two black visionaries, director Spike Lee and graphic designer Kenny Gravillis, in a candid discussion about blackness represented behind the camera.

Advertisement

As if that weren’t enough, they threw in a performance with the beautiful LeToya Luckett, who not only sang down her latest single, “Back 2 Life,” but also took us down memory lane with some of our favorite Destiny’s Child classics. The entire luncheon served as a reminder that blackness matters.

Every year, ABFF dedicates four days to showcasing quality film and television content by and about us. Black artists and content creators deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts, so ABFF founder Jeff Friday makes that happen.

When Friday decided to celebrate blackness in film 21 years ago, he had no idea that it would turn into the cultural oasis that is ABFF. And now he’s helped strengthen the black filmmaking community through resource sharing, education, artistic collaboration and career development.

Advertisement

Other notable guests included ABFF 2017’s celebrity ambassador, Regina Hall, media personality Tai Beauchamp and more. Check out some snapshots from the event!

LeToya Luckett sings at the 2017 ABFF Cadillac Kickoff Luncheon. (Soul Brother)
2017 ABFF Celebrity Ambassador Regina Hall celebrating the kickoff of ABFF at the Raleigh Hotel in Miami (Soul Brother)
Spike Lee and Kenny Gravillis encourage festivalgoers to “Dare Greatly” during Cadillac’s kickoff luncheon for the 2017 American Black Film Festival in South Beach, Miami. (Soul Brother)
LeToya Luckett, Tai Beauchamp, Regina Hall and Spike Lee (Soul Brother)