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The 2024 ABFF Honors was a special event that aimed to celebrate the work of today's past, present, and future icons in the film industry. The night was dedicated to honoring the game changers and the community that supports them, all powered by an iconic car, the CELESTIQ. (CELESTIQ will be produced in limited quantity and is available by inquiry only.) During the ceremony, Tarshena Armstrong, Director of Diversity Marketing and Development, presented the Rising Star Award to Kelvin Harrison Jr. The award is given to a contemporary artist who has shown recent success and future promise in the film and television industry, and Kelvin's recent and upcoming roles are nothing short of promising. If you would like to relive this night of excellence, keep reading.



Kelvin Harrison Jr. is a talented rising star in the American film industry. He has received the prestigious 2024 Rising Star Award presented by Cadillac for his outstanding work.  
Although he started with minor roles in the 2013 film Ender's Game, he has now become one of the most talked-about actors in the industry. Kelvin has played some iconic roles that have impressed both critics and audiences alike.


Playing roles such as Iconic figures what does it mean for you to boldly step into the role of these icons?

I wish I could be as bold as them, but my typical reaction is that I’m not worthy to do it. I’ve had to find what we have in common. Our work ethic is very similar. All of us have a tenacity about us that can be very stubborn at times and a lot of passion, a lot of heart, and a lot of love for humanity.

What do you learn/take with you from one role to the next?

Most of the time I’m learning how to be man. In times where I feel discouraged, I’m reminded that I’m not alone. These men also felt insecure and afraid and alone and unworthy even ignorant at times as to what is the best representation of us as a people. As black people. How we protect our humanity; how we advocate for ourselves in a way that’s respectful and dignified, but also not up for negotiation. When I’m playing through them, I learn more about ways and tactics to advocate for myself that way and to show myself grace and love when I don’t always have the answer.

How do you prepare?

In terms of prep, my biggest asset is assembling the right team. I have great acting coaches: Daniel DuPont, Ted Sluberski, and Alexia Robinson. I also have a great Dialect Coach, Jerome Butler, and we all kind of work together to execute the plan on what is my take and perception of these people and what version works best with the story we’re telling.

A lot of people think that acting is just about telling the truth, but I personally believe it is about, yes, telling the truth, but also serving a greater purpose. So, typically my depictions of these icons are filtered through a narrative driving a point home. In that, I try to draw out and sprinkle as much humanity as I see it on to them.

What does it mean to you to receive the Rising Star Award?

It means so much because of who it’s coming from. Mr. Jeff and Mrs. Nicole have done so much for our community in celebrating artists that don’t get many opportunities to shine as bright as the work and the time they’ve put into the craft. It means even more because of the previous honorees. Receiving the same honor gives me hope for my future and lets me know that the choices I’ve made are impactful and it makes me hopeful to think I could have longevity in this business.



Nicole and Jeff Friday are the founders of the American Black Film Festival, which aims to provide Black filmmakers the same opportunities and recognition as their non-minority peers.
They have over 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry, including producing, writing, mentorship, diversity advocacy, and trailblazing. Their passion for Black culture and unwavering commitment make them an unstoppable team, working tirelessly to ensure everyone succeeds.


What does it mean to you to celebrate and honor these iconic Black artists (Kelvin Harrison Jr) year after year?

Celebrating and honoring iconic Black artists like Kelvin Harrison Jr. is paramount. For us, it's about recognizing their talent, contributions, and the cultural impact these artists have made in the industry.

How was this year special in particular?

Every year is special with the talent that we honor, but this year was particularly superior because of the array of creativity and the depth of storytelling in which each honoree delivered their speech.

How do you see brand alignment in your efforts?

This goes back to synergy; brand alignment is crucial in our efforts as it allows us to align with partners who share our values and vision for uplifting Black voices in film and television.

What has your collaboration with Cadillac meant to you all over the years?

Our collaboration with Cadillac has been invaluable over the years, helping to elevate our brands.  There is organic synergy and a shared commitment to amplify and champion BIG Dreams and BOLD Ambitions in the entertainment industry, and their support has helped us elevate the ABFF Honors to new heights.

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