"Lovecraft Country," "The Underground Railroad," "A Black Lady Sketch Show" Among AAFCA TV Honors Winners
A scene from "The Underground Railroad" (photo by Atsushi Nishijima/courtesy of Amazon Studios)

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) has unveiled the winners for the COVID-compliant edition of its 3rd Annual AAFCA TV Honors. Actress, writer, producer, and comedian Yvette Nicole Brown will serve as the host of the AAFCA TV Honors ceremony which will take place at the exterior of the Californa Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, Calif., on Saturday, August 21.

Among the winners who will be honored at those proceedings are CBS’s “The Equalizer” starring Queen Latifah as Best New Show and Robin Thede’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show” on HBO as Best Comedy. HBO’s critically acclaimed “Lovecraft Country” stars Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors will be honored as Best Actress and Best Actor. HBO and Raoul Peck’s “Exterminate All the Brutes” and Netflix’s “High On the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America” take top docuseries honors. “Sylvie’s Love,” starring Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha, scored Best Movie honors, while Barry Jenkins and his visual adaptation of “The Underground Railroad” nabbed Best Director and Best Limited Series honors. And Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar,” wins AAFCA’s inaugural Impact Award, in addition to accolades for Best TV Drama and TV Writing.

A full list of honorees follows:


  • Best Actress: Jurnee Smollett, “Lovecraft Country,” HBO
  • Best Actor: Jonathan Majors, “Lovecraft Country,” HBO
  • Best Drama: “Queen Sugar,” OWN
  • Best Comedy: “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” HBO
  • Best New Show: “The Equalizer,” CBS
  • Best Limited Series: “The Underground Railroad,” Amazon Prime Video
  • Best Docuseries: “Exterminate All the Brutes,” HBO and “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America,” Netflix
  • Best Writing: “Queen Sugar,” OWN
  • Best Director: Barry Jenkins, “The Underground Railroad,” Amazon Prime Video
  • Best Movie: “Sylvie’s Love,” Amazon Prime Video

“This year’s honorees reflect a healthy variety of content that is not only entertaining but also mirrors the diversity of storytelling within the Black community. The TV Honors jury recognizes a multitude of voices, both emerging and established, whose work attests to the heterogeneity of the Black experience,” stated AAFCA co-founder and president Gil Robertson. “We, at AAFCA, are excited by these winners, as well as the previously announced Special Achievement honorees, because we are most hopeful that the vast array of offerings this year point to a permanent shift in the quality and depth of storytelling capturing the Black experience on television.”

Robertson continued, “Although ‘Sylvie’s Love,’ for example, is set in civil rights era America --love, career aspirations, and the ‘what ifs’ of life, not race, is the focus, which is a huge departure for film or any other content of this era highlighting the Black experience. ‘Queen Sugar,’ tackled both the pandemic and the police killing of George Floyd from a uniquely nuanced and complex Black perspective, chronicling a variety of viewpoints within the community at large. Both ‘Exterminate All the Brutes’ and ‘High on the Hog’ used nonfiction storytelling very effectively. ‘Exterminate All the Brutes’ interrogates the origins of racism and racial subjugation, while ‘High on the Hog’ presents an eye-opening overview of the vast contributions of African Americans to the culinary heritage of this nation that are often overlooked or, worse, unknown.

Then we have Robin Thede crushing barriers for Black women in comedy with ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show,’ Barry Jenkins cementing himself as one of the industry’s most-talented directors with his stunning adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-winning book, The Underground Railroad, Queen Latifah’s triumphant television return in a new format with the reboot of ‘The Equalizer’ and, of course, multi-talented Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors, anchors of Misha Green’s daring sci-fi fantasy ‘Lovecraft Country,’ as Best Actress and Actor.”

“It’s a robust slate that we believe is reflective of a new normal regarding diversity and inclusion for TV.”   

Winners also join previously announced special honorees Steve McQueen, Wanda Sykes, Naomi Ackie, Michaela Coel, HBO/HBO Max, “Lupin” and “Queen Sugar.” 


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