LOS ANGELES – The Pan African Film Festival will honor award-winning actress Lynn Whitfield with its highest honor, a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in television and film. The award will be presented at the annual Night of Tribute,which will be part of the preshow festivities for the awards ceremony of the African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA).
The event will be held on Friday, February 8, 2013, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Taglyan Complex, located at 1201 Vine Street in Hollywood, Calif. The Night of Tribute honors world-renowned actors, filmmakers, community leaders and fine artists for their contributions on stage, television, film, the arts and the community.
With more than 30 years in the entertainment industry, Whitfield vaulted to international fame in the HBO biopic, “The Josephine Baker Story,” portraying the legendary international icon. Her performance – after all, who can forget the Banana Dance — nabbed her a Golden Globe nomination and an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Special or Miniseries,” giving Whitfield “the greatest sense of accomplishment and realization of my vision,” she says.
A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Whitfield has won five NAACP Image Awards and received four nominations for her work in television and film, including “Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story,” co-starring Jamie Foxx and “The Josephine Baker Story.” Other tv credits include roles in the Oprah Winfrey-produced miniseries, “The Women of Brewster Place” and “The Wedding,” respectively. She’s also attracted a new generation of fans in two of the Disney Channel’s highest-rated movies, “The Cheetah Girls” and its sequel, “The Cheetah Girls 2.”
On the big screen, Whitfield portrayed the unforgettable character, Brandi, in Martin Lawrence’s popular urban revenge saga, “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate.” She went on to score critical success as the beleaguered wife of Samuel L. Jackson in “Eve’s Bayou,” which is a story of a prominent black Louisiana family. Other film credits include the Chris Rock vehicle, “Head of State,” Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Family Reunion,” and “Mama I Want To Sing,” a remake of the popular off-Broadway musical, as well as “Things Fall Apart,” produced by and co-starring rapper 50 Cent.
“Lynn Whitfield is a force to be reckoned with on the screen, whether big or small,” says Ayuko Babu, executive producer of the Pan African Film Festival. “Through her craft, she’s a wonderful storyteller. She brings a larger-than-life presence to all her roles, almost like she holding court, captivating audiences and delivering riveting performances each and every time.”
Previous recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award include Oscar-winner Louis Gossett Jr,, Tony award-winner Phylicia Rashad, Emmy award-winning actors Loretta Devine and Glynn Turman, the honorable Ambassador Andrew Young as well as award winning actresses Marla Gibbs and Dr. Della Reese — just to name a few.