Black Reel Awards

The Black Reel Awards, or "BRAs", is an annual American awards ceremony hosted by the Foundation for the Augmentation of African-Americans in Film (FAAAF) to recognize excellence of African-Americans, as well as the cinematic achievements of the African diaspora, in the global film industry, as assessed by the Foundation’s voting membership. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a statuette, officially called the Black Reel Award. The awards, first presented in 2000 in Washington, DC, are overseen by FAAAF.

Black Reel Awards
Awarded forExcellence in African-American Films
CountryUnited States
Presented byFoundation for the Advancement of African-Americans in Film
First awardedFebruary 16, 2000 (2000-02-16)

The awards ceremony was initially awarded online during its first two years before the first live show presentation in 2002. The awards have broadcast to radio since 2014. The Black Reel Awards is the oldest cinema-exclusive awards ceremony for African-Americans.

The 19th Annual Black Reel Awards ceremony was held on February 7, 2019.


Founded by film critic Tim Gordon and Sabrina McNeal in 2000, the first annual Black Reel Awards presentation was held on February 16, 2000 online courtesy of Reel Images Magazine.[1] Two years later, the third annual Black Reel Awards held its first live presentation at a private dinner function at the Cada Vez in Washington, DC with an audience of about 150 people. Twenty statuettes were awarded, honoring African-American artists, directors and other participants in the filmmaking industry, for their works in 2001. The ceremony ran for 90 minutes.

In subsequent years, the Black Reel Awards have largely been presented in the nation’s capital, with the exception of one year when the awards were moved to New York. The awards have been presented live several times: the fourth annual Black Reel Awards presentation was held at H20 on the Southwest waterfront in Washington, DC with an audience of about 200 people; the sixth annual Black Reel Awards presentation was held at the French Embassy with an audience of about 350 people; and the thirteenth annual Black Reel Awards presentation was held at the MIST Harlem with an audience of about 200 people.

Initially winners were announced online. Later, the live awards presentations would use a sealed envelope to reveal the name of each winner.

The Black Reel Awards benefit The Foundation for the Advancement of African-Americans in Film (FAAAF), a non-profit arts organization whose mission is to provide educational opportunities to future minority film executives. Through the FAAAF programs "Reel Kids," and "Producer's Institute," scholarships are awarded to minority junior high, high school and college graduate students pursuing careers in the movie and television industries.

In 2015, the Foundation changed its name to The Foundation for the Augmentation of African-Americans in Film.[2]


The first Outstanding Actor award was given to Denzel Washington for his performance in The Hurricane.[3] He subsequently received the same honor the next two years, for his performances in Remember the Titans and Training Day.[4][5]

At the 3rd Annual Black Reel Awards ceremony, held on February 16, 2002, the Outstanding Foreign Film category was introduced.

The 6th Annual Black Reel Awards, held in 2005, presented the first Vanguard Award for entertainer of the year to Jamie Foxx for his performances in Collateral, Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story, and Ray.

Each of the Black Reel Awards ceremonies has ended with the Black Reel Award for Outstanding Film.

Black Reel Awards Statuette

Motion Picture Categories

Independent & Next Generation Categories

Television Categories

Discontinued Categories

In 2005, three categories, Outstanding Actor, Outstanding Actress, as well as Outstanding Film awards were split into two separate categories (Drama and Musical/Comedy). In addition, the Outstanding Original Television Program was discontinued in 2005 and later expanded and resurfaced in 2015 as the Outstanding Television Documentary or Special category.

Special Categories

The Special Black Reel Awards are voted on by special Foundation committees, rather than by the Voting Academy membership as a whole. They are not always presented on a consistent annual basis.

Current Special Categories

  • Vanguard Entertainer of the Year Award: since 2004
  • Oscar Micheaux Filmmaker Distinction Award: since 2017
  • Sidney Poitier Lifetime Achievement Award: since 2017
  • Ruby Dee Humanitarian Award: since 2017

Discontinued Special Categories

  • Black Reel Award Special Achievement Award: 2004 to 2006


Film nominations

Below are the Motion Picture and Television films with 5 or more nominations. Black Panther holds the record for the most wins for a single film with 10 categorical wins, and also holds the record for the most nominated film with 17 nominations. 12 Years a Slave and Selma are tied for second place with 8 wins apiece. On the television side, Lackawanna Blues holds the record for most nominations with 9 and wins 7 for a television film.

Most nominated performers

This is a list of multiple nominated performers, producers, writers & directors with 5 or more career nominations as of 2016. Spike Lee holds the record with 27 nominations as a producer, director and writer.

Most Individual Wins

Here are the individuals with the most wins, as of the 2016 ceremony.

See also


  1. Kearney, Ryan (December 15, 2010). "'For Colored Girls' leads D.C.'s Black Reel Awards nominations". TBD Arts. Archived from the original on June 17, 2015.
  2. "History". Black Reel Awards. Archived from the original on 20 February 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  3. "2000 Black Reel Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  4. "2001 Black Reel Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  5. "2002 Black Reel Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
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