Tribeca Festival to Present Stacey Abrams With Inaugural Harry Belafonte Award Amid Juneteenth Programming

Stacey Abrams speaks at a Democratic canvass kickoff as she campaigns for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on October 24, 2020.
Stacey Abrams speaks at a Democratic canvass kickoff as she campaigns for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on October 24, 2020.
Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

The Tribeca Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary, which is quite the special year. Not only because of the monumental commemoration itself, but because it is returning with a special format post-lockdown featuring a nice compromise of both in-person and virtual programming.


This year, the New York-based festival will “highlight the voices of the African Diaspora with an emphasis on African-American artists, performers, filmmakers, and interdisciplinary creators all culminating on Juneteenth (June 19th).” Plus, Tribeca has announced its new award, The Harry Belafonte Voices For Social Justice Award, to be presented to a “famed performer, actor, activist and civil rights leader.” The inaugural recipient? None other than Stacey Abrams! Abrams has been having quite a time this week—she was recently in the news since her brand-new novel While Justice Sleeps will also be adapted for TV via Working Title Television, part of NBCUniversal International Studios. Plus, mark your calendars and make sure you tune into Friday’s It’s Lit podcast episode (that’s May 14th!) because The Root had the honor of sitting down to chat with Abrams!

“We are proud to salute the brilliant and inspiring actor, activist and friend, Harry Belafonte with this award created in his honor,’’ Tribeca Chief Content Officer Paula Weinstein said in a statement. “We are in awe of Stacey Abrams and her amazing work and unwavering commitment to fighting on behalf of our democracy and against injustices. We are thrilled for her to be the first recipient to begin the legacy of this award.”

Some highlights from the fest’s Juneteenth programming via the official press release sent to The Root:

Woven throughout the Festival, Juneteenth programming line-up will include 19 in competition, out-of-competition, Tribeca At Home, and anniversary films, 6 in competition shorts, 4 special out-of-competition shorts programs, 2 TV world premieres, 12 Tribeca Talks and discussions across the festival, 8 immersive projects, and 6 podcasts. For more information surrounding Juneteenth programming, please visit

New highlights for the Juneteenth program include: the Tribeca Talk Black Filmmaker Foundation Panel: Is the Past Really Past? featuring a discussion with writer and educator Jelani Cobb, actor and director Ruben Santiago-Hudson, director Melina Matsoukas, director Kasi Lemmons and moderated by founder of Black Filmmaker Foundation Warrington Hudlin, official feature selections from the 2020 Tribeca Festival including The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show, Stateless, Through the Night, Yusef Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn, and She Paradise as well as a discussion with GRAMMY-Winning Singer Cécile McLorin Salvant on her work for the upcoming animated film Ogresse with musical selections performed live with accompaniment by pianist Sullivan Fortner.

“The festival has always been a welcoming space for creators to share their stories and in support of artists through social activism,” Tribeca Enterprises and Tribeca Festival co-founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal said in a statement. “I’m proud that this June, as part of our 20th anniversary, our programming is a powerful reflection of incredible storytellers that are deeply rooted in showcasing the rich legacy of the Black experience, all culminating on Juneteenth.”

Tribeca Fest will feature previously announced dope programming such as the 30th anniversary screening and reunion of Robert Townsend’s The Five Heartbeats, the world premiere of the feature documentary The One and Only Dick Gregory, the documentary Ferguson Rises directed by Mobolaji Olambiwonnu and more.


The 2021 Tribeca Festival will take place June 9-20.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.