Aug 5

World Cafe Live

$30-$40 General Admission


2017 BlackStar Awards

The BlackStar Awards Ceremony honors the best in independent cinema from emerging, established, and mid- career directors, writers and producers working in narrative, documentary, experimental and music video filmmaking.

Scholar and producer Yaba Blay and entrepreneur Ike Ewell will host and be joined by special guest presenters. Luke Carlos O’Reilly will once again direct an all-star bill of musical performances including: Danni Cassette, Cakes da Killa, Jacqueline Constance, DJ Jovi Baby, and Pharoahe Monch! Filmmaker, executive and activist Ava DuVernay will be honored with the 2017 Richard Nichols Luminary Award.

Dress code: cocktail attire

Regular admission tickets will be on sale for $30 through July 31. From August 1-5 tickets will be sold online, onsite at the festival, and at the door at World Cafe Live (pending availability) for $40.

Featured Artists

Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay is a writer, producer, director and distributor of independent film. Nominated for the Academy Award and winner of the BAFTA for Best Documentary, Ava DuVernay’s 13th is one of the most critically-acclaimed films of 2016. In 2015, DuVernay directed the historical drama Selma. Her current directorial work includes the award-winning Queen Sugar and the upcoming A Wrinkle in Time. Winner of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival’s Best Director prize for Middle of Nowhere, DuVernay’s early directorial work includes I Will Follow, Venus Vs, and This is The Life. She also distributes and amplifies the work of people of color and women directors through her film collective ARRAY.

Cakes da Killa

Cakes da Killa is a 25-years-old rapper with five critically-acclaimed mixtapes under his belt. With his unique sound, a mix of various musical influences and his underground experience, Cakes has quickly carved a lane for himself in music as a trailblazer. Worth more than just a mention on a queer hip hop trend piece, Cakes has as an international following, and shatters preconceived notions of what it takes to be a respected lyricist in hip hop. Rightly bragging that he can, “spit that shit to make a homophobe a hypocrite,” he continues to prove the statement true with each new release. His debut album, Hedonism, drops October 21st.

Danni Cassette

Danni Cassette is a singer, songwriter and arranger whose goals are to inspire the world to live boldly and freely. In 2012 Danni took a gamble on her art! Without much money, a trunk full of CD’s, and a lot of hope, she was able to travel the entire East Coast and Midwest. After touring for almost three years she’s now remerging with her current single “Right Away’ from the forthcoming project BLOOM. Danni Cassette’s artistry aspires to leave the world a legacy of fighting through struggle, finding acceptance of oneself through elevation, and staying connected to one’s humanness. She believes she’s not of this time, but for this time.

Isaac Ewell

Isaac Ewell is a master connector, who has utilized his skills to establish himself as an innovative social entrepreneur. As a visionary leader, he has co-founded several networking/ promotions companies and an independent record label. Two years ago he launched Onehunted, which creates online and in-person experiences that forge authentic connections between brands and customers. Through live events, fresh editorial content, and ecommerce platforms, Onehunted empowers consumers to look good, do good, and feel good. Despite his many accomplishments, Isaac is most proud of his role as a dedicated husband and father.

Jacqueline Constance

Jacqueline Constance turns breaths, sighs and words into funky orchestral pastures for her lyrics to frolic through, armed with just a mic, her digital sampling foot pedal, and a small mixer. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Jacqueline attended the legendary CAPA high school, which spawned such artists as the Roots, Boys II Men and Amel Larrieux. Jacqueline is inspired by jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, which is apparent in her vocal nuances and soulful timbre. Preparing for her new project has resulted in Jacqueline’s explorations down new sonic pathways typically uncharted by an ‘urban’ artist. Prepare yourself for #DopeAzzMusic”.

Jovi Baby

Jovi Baby is an event curator and party rocker. In a short time Jovi has created quite the name for herself on the DJ scene and is blazing the trail in her own lane. She has graced some of the biggest stages in the country, and worked alongside some of the world’s most respected artists and top acts. Jovi has appeared on BET’s 106 & Park, MTV’s MADE, Power 99 FM – Power House Concert, and performed at House of Blues and Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. She also landed a sponsorship deal with Clique Vodka several years ago and was one of the featured acts for their True Artist campaign.

Pharoahe Monch

Pharoahe Monch is a Grammy-nominated hip hop emcee from Queens. He has been at the forefront of lyrical innovation for two-decades. Not only is he one of hip hop’s preeminent lyricists, crafting intricate rhyme schemes and intelligent raps, he is an incisive political and social commentator, using hip hop as a platform for political engagement. Debuting with a critically-acclaimed run as the legendary Organized Konfusion, Pharoahe struck out on his own in 1998. He’s released four solo LPs. Nominated for a 2017 Grammy for his work on the Miles Ahead soundtrack, Pharoahe is currently in working on a new album to be released this year.

Yaba Blay

Yaba Blay is currently the Dan Blue Endowed Chair in Political Science at North Carolina Central University. Named to The Root 100, she is one of today’s leading voices on global skin color politics. She has been featured on CNN, BET, MSNBC, NPR, O, Ebony, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Root, Huffington Post Live, Colorlines, Al Jazeera, and elsewhere. Dr. Blay is the creator of #PrettyPeriod and has served as a consulting producer for CNN, is executive producer on a transmedia film project with Terence Nance, and has co-written a feature with Akosua Adoma Owusu. She is currently producing the docuseries Professional Black Girl and Adventures at Beauty World.