Aug 6

doors 7:00pm
show 7:30pm
Kimmel Center

$30 General Admission
$15 Members
Free for passholders


2016 BlackStar Awards

The BlackStar Awards is a highly anticipated special event during the BlackStar Film Festival. The Festival is a celebration of cinema focused on work by and about people of African descent in a global context. BlackStar highlights films that are often overlooked from emerging, established, and mid-career directors, writers and producers working in narrative, documentary, experimental and music video filmmaking.

Actors Dorian Missick (Zoe Ever After, Annie) and Simone Missick (Luke Cage, Ray Donovan) will host the 5th Annual Awards Gala, which will also feature special guest presenters. Luke O’Reilly will direct an all-star bill of musical performances. Filmmaker Julie Dash will receive the Richard Nichols Luminary Award.

Dress code: cocktail attire


Dorian Missick

Dorian Missick who plays the male lead in the BET series “Zoe Ever After” gained recognition when he starred in two seasons of the critically acclaimed TNT series, “Southland” as Detective Ruben Robinson opposite Regina King. Staying in the John Wells family, this season Dorian is doing a season long arc on the new TNT series “Animal Kingdom”. Other series regular roles include NBC’s drama, “The Cape” and JJ Abrams’ “Six Degrees” for ABC. His film work includes Sony’s Annie, Screen Gem’s’ Deliver Us From Evil, and the Slamdance debut Big Words, which was distributed by Ava Duvernay’s company ARRAY in which he played the title character. He also starred in MooZ-lum, Two Weeks’ Notice, Lucky Number Slevin, The Manchurian Candidate, and a starring role opposite Zoe Saldana in Premium. Dorian has recently begun producing projects as well; his producing credits include: a recent collaboration with director Pete Chatmon, a short film airing on HBO in which he also stars Black Card, the ultra low-budget thriller As Evil Does, in which he stars opposite Bill Cobbs, and the SXSW critical darling 9 Rides, a collaboration with director Matthew Cherry. In theatre, he starred off-Broadway in the Pulitzer-prize winning drama A Soldier’s Play opposite Anthony Mackie and Taye Diggs in 2005 at the Second Stage Theater. He is actively looking to get back on the New York stage as well. Dorian lives in both in New York and Los Angeles where he is a popular DJ under his alias Tailwind Turner.

Simone Missick

Simone Missick is an actress, writer, and native Detroiter. She will be seen on screens near you in the highly anticipated Netflix superhero show, “Marvel’s Luke Cage”, premiering September 30th. Simone is cast as the iconic superhero, Misty Knight. Other recent film and television credits include “Wayward Pines” (Fox), “Ray Donovan” (Showtime), and notably the short film, Black Card, directed by Pete Chatmon, co-starring Dorian Missick, which screened at the BlackStar film festival in 2015. A lover of both the screen and stage, Simone was last scene as Citizen #1 in the LA World Premiere of the adapted work Citizen: An American Lyric by award-winning poet Claudia Rankine. Other theatre credits include The Mountaintop as Camae (Theatreworks); the road weeps, the well runs dry as Sweet Tea (LATC); and the LA Drama Critics Circle Award winning production of In the Red and Brown Water as Shun (The Fountain Theatre). Simone has written and produced several one-act plays, including Love in War, which was featured in the show, Looking For Trouble (LA Weekly Theatre Award nominee for Best Comedic Ensemble). Simone is a proud graduate of Howard University (“Aww HU!”), with a BA in English and a minor in theatre. Mrs. Missick is extremely honored and thankful to be back at BlackStar Film Festival.


Blitz the Ambassador

Blitz the Ambassador is a musician and filmmaker born in Accra, Ghana and based in Brooklyn, New York. Blitz has released 3 studio albums, Stereotype (2009), Native Sun (2011) and Afropolitan Dreams (2014) and collaborated with artists such as Seun Kuti, Nneka and legendary Grammy Award winning artist Angelique Kidjo. Blitz’s short films Native Sun (2012) and Diasporadical Trilogìa (2016) have premiered at BAM New Voices in Black Cinema. As a musician and band leader, Blitz and his Embassy Ensemble have performed at music festivals such as Roskilde (Denmark), Solidays (France), Mawazine (Morocco), and Sauti za Busara (Zanzibar), sharing the stage with the likes of The Roots, Hugh Masekela, Sting, and Public Enemy. Blitz is a 2016 TED Fellow and recipient of the Vilcek Prize, recognizing immigrant contributions to American society in the arts.

Laurin Talese

Laurin Talese has been captivating audiences with her voice since the age of ten. A Cleveland, Ohio native, she attended the Cleveland School of the Arts and, at an early age, received notoriety as a promising young vocalist. After completing high school, Laurin relocated to Philadelphia where she attended the University of the Arts, and subsequently received a Bachelor of Music degree in jazz vocal performance. Although her greatest affinity is jazz, Laurin is versatile within many musical genres. She has worked with numerous American recording artists including Ed Sheeran, Bilal, Aloe Blacc, Vivian Green, and has shared the stage with renowned classical and jazz ensembles such as The Cleveland Orchestra, The Cleveland Jazz Heritage Orchestra, The Moses Hogan Chorale, and the internationally acclaimed Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg, Austria. Her vocal talents have allowed her to travel the globe, and she has performed throughout Europe including the UK, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, as well as parts of Asia, Brazil, and 30 states within the U.S. As a complement to her effortless vocal abilities, Laurin is a passionate songwriter. It is the union of her pure tone and poignant lyrics that excite her audiences and helps to define her sound. As she continues to build a name for herself as a solo voice, she can be seen performing throughout the East Coast and beyond. Most recently, Laurin partnered with Grammy-award winning drummer and producer, Ulysses Owens Jr., and internationally acclaimed music director/producer, Adam Blackstone (BASSic Black Entertainment), to create her highly anticipated debut album, which features Owens and Blackstone, alongside Robert Glasper, Josh Lawrence, Christian McBride, Christian Sands, Eric Wortham II, and more. Laurin Talese’s debut album entitled, “Gorgeous Chaos” was released on March 25, 2016.

OSHUN is a musical duo comprised of DC natives Niambi Sala and Thandiwe, ages 20 and 21. These young independent artists describe their sound as Iya-Sol, a refreshing mixture of the most vital kinds of music: Neo-Soul, Hip-Hop, and Spiritual. Niambi and Thandi’s sisterhood manifested in March 2013 when the two met as high school seniors at a scholarship orientation at NYU. After an instant connection, the girls performed an acapella cover at the orientation’s talent showcase, fusing “The Prayer” by Ghostface Killah and “Price Tag” by Jessie J, totally unaware of how that moment foreshadowed a musical career in the works. Niambi Sala was raised in a musical home, so she always had a desire to perform in a musical setting. She moved to NYC from the DC area to continue her career as a student at the Clive Davis Institute at NYU. Thandiwe came to NYU, also from the DC area, to study Africana Studies. During her initial time in NYC, Thandi dabbled in music production and collaborated with Niambi on musical ideas while cultivating their friendship. Finally, at the end of their first semester, Thandi and Niambi decided to pursue their collaboration seriously. The name OSHUN pays homage to the Yoruba river deity (Oṣun) and her sisters (Iyemoja and Oya) who all represent elements of femininity and womanhood. Since their debut EP AFAHYE in March of 2014, OSHUN has amassed a fanbase of over 70,000 collective supporters on Soundcloud, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. OSHUN has gained attention from numerous publications and news outlets, including NPR, Complex, Huffington Post, Okayplayer, Vogue, Afropunk, Mass Appeal, Deli Magazine, and more.

Saul Williams

MartyrLoserKing has just tagged his screen name onto the White House lawn via remote drone. He’s working from a remote e-waste camp in Burundi, Central Africa, neighboring the more well-known Rwanda, with equipment scrapped together from our old Dell PC towers and Sidekick IIs. Homeland Security, the NSA, and the CIA are tracing his signal back to a place that isn’t on the map or on the grid, and the alert level rises when he hacks NASA just to show he can do it. At least, that’s what Saul Williams will tell you when you ask about his upcoming album and the story it’s inspired. Written and recorded between Senegal, Reunion Island, Paris, Haiti, and New Orleans and New York, Martyr Loser King is a multimedia project that engages the digital dialogue between the 1st and 3rd Worlds, and the global street sounds that yoke the two. “In Senegal, I was buying iPhones for $20, Beats for $10, because they get all the influx from China, with no regulation,” Williams explains. “So everyone’s online. Everyone’s high tech.” He sights Beyoncé, Fredo Santana, and Haitian field recordings as musical inspirations for his self-produced 6th album, straining trap hi-hats and mbira strokes together for a nuanced, entirely original sound. “I’m just letting you know what I’m reading and seeing while I’m writing. When I’m writing, the music leads.” Williams has been breaking ground since his debut album, Amethyst Rock Star, was released in 2001 and executive produced by Rick Rubin. After gaining global fame for his poetry and writings at the turn of the century, Williams has performed in over 30 countries and read in over 300 universities, with invitations that have spanned from the White House, the Sydney Opera House, Lincoln Center, The Louvre, The Getty Center, Queen Elizabeth Hall, to countless, villages, townships, community centers, and prisons across the world. The Newburgh, New York native gained a BA from Morehouse and an MFA from Tisch, and has gone on to record with Nine Inch Nails and Allen Ginsburg, as well as countless film and television appearances.

Skeme Richards

The self-proclaimed “Nostalgia King” and his lifestyle brand Hot Peas and Butta, are known not only for nightlife but also for involvement in the creative arts. In 2013 Hot Peas & Butta, along with artist Elroy Jenkins were responsible for curating several art exhibitions in Heerlen, The Netherlands as part of the IBE Festival as well as in Rotterdam (Street Science) and even New York’s Tribeca Film Festival which displayed original works and items from their collections. Skeme Richards and Hot Peas & Butta have also stepped into the print media world with the introduction of their comic series, Kodoja: Terror Mountain Showdown which was featured at some of the biggest gatherings for the genre including New York Comic Con, Wizard World Comic, G-Fest and more. In addition to building his own unique brand, Skeme Richards has shared stages with some of the best DJ’s in the business including Maseo (De La Soul), Shortkut (Beat Junkies), DJ Babu (Dilated Peoples), Tony Touch, Bobbito Garcia, DJ Nu-Mark (Jurassic 5), DJ Spinna, DJ Muro (King of Diggin’), Daisuke Kuroda (Kickin 45), Rich Medina (Jump n Funk), Florian Keller and more. From Philly to Los Angeles, Seoul Korea to Tokyo, London to Switzerland, Skeme Richards is known for blessing the people with his eclectic mix of musical goodness, where no ear or dance floor goes unsatisfied. Corporate clients include Momentum Worldwide, Helsinki Fashion Week, Boogie Marketing OY, Red Bull, Denon Audio Japan, Absolut Vodka, Stoli Vodka, Sailor Jerry, Puma, Adidas, Beats Store, Record Breakin’ Music, and 45 Live.


Julie Dash

Julie Dash was born and raised in New York City; she has toured nationally and internationally with her work, and she has received numerous awards since embarking on her film career. With the debut of “Daughters of the Dust” in January 1992, she became the first African American woman to have a full-length general theatrical release in the United States. “O” magazine included ‘Daughters” among it’s 50 Greatest Chick Flicks, and in 1999, the twenty-fifth Annual Newark Black Film Festival honored Julie and her film “Daughters of the Dust” as being one of the most important cinematic achievements in Black Cinema in the 20th century. Her work as a Film Director includes “Brothers of the Borderland” for The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Museum in Ohio. Ms. Dash also directed the NAACP Image Award winning CBS Network Television Movie, “The Rosa Parks Story” the winner of The Family Television Award, The New York Christopher Award, and Angela Bassett received an Emmy Nomination for her performance as “Rosa Parks.” For the 55th Annual Directors Guild Awards, Julie Dash was nominated for her Outstanding Directorial Achievement on “The Rosa Parks Story,” and she became the first African American woman nominated in the category of Primetime Movies Made for Television at The Directors Guild of America. Her long form, dramatic narrative films include: “Love Song,” an MTV original feature starring R&B singers Monica, Tyress and TLC’s Chili; “Incognito,” a romantic thriller staring Richard T. Jones, Vanessa Williams, Phil Morris, Ron Glass with Rodger Guenveur Smith; and the ENCORE/StarZ3 “Funny Valentines” starring Alfre Woodard, Loretta Devine and C.C.H. Pounder. She wrote and directed an episode of “Women” for ShowTime Cable Network, as well as “Sax Cantor Riff”, HBO’s “Subway Stories” for Producers Jonathan Demme and Rosie Perez. Ms. Dash has a book published by The New Press, and a novel published by Dutton-Signett Books. She has directed Music Videos with musical artists including Raphael Saadiq with Tony, Toni, Tone; Keb ‘Mo, Peabo Bryson, Adriana Evans, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason,” which was nominated for MTV’s Best Female Vocalist, 1996. Her critically acclaimed short film “Illusions”, a drama set in Hollywood 1942, won the 1989 Jury Prize for Best Film of the Decade, awarded by the Black Filmmakers Foundation. Ms. Dash earned her M.F.A. in Film & Television production at UCLA; received her B.A. in Film Production from CCNY, and she was also a Fellow at the American Film Institute’s Center for Advanced Film Studies, the AFI conservatory at Greystone Mansion.