The Walter Kaitz Foundation’s (WKF) mission of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in media and entertainment is achieved in part through partnering with organizations with similar missions. One such group is the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), founded by Jeff Friday. The mission of ABFF is to empower black artists and showcase quality film and television content by and about people of African descent. Their annual festival is the largest gathering of Black film and TV enthusiasts in the country.
The WKF has supported ABFF six years running and in June, joined with CBS All Access to host a VIP reception and curated converstion for ABFF guests at the W Hotel in Miami. Special guests for the reception included Delroy Lindo and Nyambi Nyambi, stars of the breakout hit, The Good Fight, in its third season on CBS All Access. The show is not only the streaming service’s flagship series, but it is pushing boundaries for diversity and inclusion in its cast and its storylines.
During the event Lindo explained, “One of the major advantages with an event like this, for me personally, has to do with the extent to which I am affirmed by virtue of the regard I see for me and my colleagues and what we are doing. That is incredibly important in an industry that is very, very, harsh, so… I thank you for that.” Lindo and Nyambi captivated attendees as they graciously shared their insights on the industry.
“The ABFF’s showcase of African American talent in front-of and behind the camera, on television and in film demonstrates the very real impact that diverse talent has on the media and entertainment industry and the viewers we serve,” said Michelle Ray, Executive Director of the WKF. “We were pleased to have CBS All Access join us to co-host this year’s event.”
For fans of the show, it will be easy to understand the thematic connection of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. The series is a spin-off of CBS’s The Good Wife, and Lindo and Nyambi are joined by castmates Christine Baranski, Rose Leslie and Cush Jumbo. The setting, in a firm historically staffed by black lawyers, dramatically increased the show’s opportunity for stories about race, and serves as commentary to America’s contemporary political climate, dealing with issues from institutional racism to single mothers in the workplace. Liz Shannon Miller of Indiewire claims, “it’s a show with a genuine sense of innovation in play, a quiet revolt hiding behind the mask of a legal drama.” The series has been so successful, CBS has begun airing the first season of the show in the coveted Sunday night prime-time broadcast block which demonstrates that audiences are ready for more diverse content like this.