Natalie Cole, Beverly Johnson, David Oyelowo, Tracee Ellis Ross,

Thandie Newton, Lance Gross, Niecy Nash, Sheryl Lee Ralph,

Omar Dorsey, Star Jones, Vanessa Bell Calloway and Lynn Whitfield among others.

Mercedes-Benz VP of Marketing Drew Slaven, David Oyelowo and Gil Robertson
Colman Domingo, Stephan James, David Oyelowo, Niecy Nash, Omar J. Dorsey
and other Selma cast members
Nikkole Denson-Randolph, VP, Specialty & Alternative Content at AMC Theatres/Entertainment
Todd Brown, Publisher of Ebony Magazine with Salaam Coleman Smith, EVP strategy and
programming at ABC Family
Natalie Cole, Star Jones, Vanessa Bell Calloway with guests
Director Roger Bobb and Producer
Debra Martin Chase
Fashion Icon Beverly Johnson
Thandie Newton
Sheryl Lee Ralph
Tracee Ellis Ross
Lance Gross

(Los Angeles) – February 23, 2015 – The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), the premiere organization of film media professionals, set a goal last year to expand its industry presence during awards season with a collection of distinctive events. With awards season now coming to a close, by all accounts AAFCA has succeeded on all levels in honoring and presenting some of the most prominent names in front of the camera and behind the scenes in entertainment.


While each event was presented under the AAFCA banner, they were all unique. Starting with a community-centric panel discussion that focused on career sustainability in the entertainment industry, in collaboration with One United Bank; to an intimate dinner at the home of Emmy Award-winning casting agent, Robi Reed, leading up to the association’s premiere event, its annual awards show that showcased some of the biggest names in the industry – Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, J.K. Simmons, Kathryn Bigelow, David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ava DuVernay, Chadwick Boseman, RZA, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Mike Epps, among others in attendance.


AAFCA celebrated the end of awards season with a lavish Academy Awards Viewing Party with Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) that attracted a diverse group of celebrities and industry executives. “Award season never gets old and once again provided a whirlwind of activities that allowed the professionals who work so hard in this industry an opportunity to connect with their peers,” says AAFCA President, Gil Robertson. “AAFCA feels very privileged to participate in this tradition and add our distinctive flavor into the mix.”


The AAFCA/MBUSA Academy Awards Viewing Party was a high-voltage affair held in the Grand Ballroom of the Four Seasons Hotel. Notable talent enjoying the affair included Natalie Cole, Beverly Johnson, David Oyelowo, Tracee Ellis Ross,Thandie Newton, Lance Gross, Andrea Navedo, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Omar Dorsey, Star Jones, Vanessa Bell Calloway and Lynn Whitfield among others who noshed on a menu that featured sushi, arugula hummus, spicy beef empanadas and duck confit quesadillas, complemented with cocktails that were specifically crafted for the occasion. The event was accented by special treats courtesy of luxury cosmetic brand, Estee Lauder; prizes and other surprises intended to enhance attendees’ Oscar viewing experience.  “Mercedes-Benz is proud to join with AAFCA to host this year’s Academy Awards Viewing Party,” said Drew Slaven, Vice President of Marketing at MBUSA.  “We’re delighted to be a patron of AAFCA for the 2015 awards season.”


“Everyone had a blast as they celebrated the Oscars and what they mean to our industry,” adds Robertson. “Being able to team with Mercedes-Benz USA for this event was a beautiful thing and it’s an opportunity we look forward to doing again!”


Crowd Reactions to Best Song Glory (Selma) winning the Oscar
Crowd Reactions to Best Song Glory (Selma) winning the Oscar


For more information on events and programs that are produced year round by AAFCA, visit www.aafca.com.

For more high resolutions images click here and here. Photo credit
Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz USA and Michael Melendy.



***B-Roll Video captured at Oscars Screening Party***
Click to watch
Natalie Cole
Click to view
Vanessa Bell Calloway
Click to watch
Niecy Nash
Connect with AAFCA on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/236178445344/

Instagram: @aafca


About Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz products in the United States.  MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the sporty CLA-Class four-door coupe to the flagship S-Class.

MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans, and smart products in the U.S.  More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com, www.mbsprinterusa.com and www.smartusa.com.

Accredited journalists can visit our media site at www.media.mbusa.com.


The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) actively reviews cinema at-large, with a particular emphasis on films which include the Black experience. The organization creates a platform for movies with universal appeal to the African-American community, while highlighting films produced, written, directed and starring, persons from the African Diaspora. Our members are also involved in our advocacy work that includes programming for students interested in film criticism and journalism.

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Tosha Whitten-Griggs