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Celebrating Black content. Photo: Pexels — Pixabay.

NBCUniversal talent participated in the American Black Film Festival and EssenceFest

Every year, the Black community comes together at both festivals to gather and celebrate their creations.


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Stars in front of and behind the camera from NBCU Entertainment and Peacock productions have participated in recent months at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) and EssenceFest.

The production company also took advantage of these events to announce its new releases and promote the highlights of Black talent.

American Black Film Festival

During the last edition of ABFF, NBCU held the first public screening of its upcoming fall show "Found."

According to NBCU, this twisted and timely drama follows public relations specialist Gabi Mosely (Shanola Hampton) and her crisis management team as they search for missing people from marginalized groups who don't normally receive widespread media attention, as she was once one of the forgotten.

For her part, unbeknownst to anyone, this everyday heroine hides a chilling secret of her own.

Hampton stated in a Refinery29 Unbothered article:

I loved being able to play a complex character who you think has it all together and she’s a boss and then you see that she too has trauma. That’s our theme. Trauma has no look to it. It does not discriminate. How each person deals with trauma is different. You get to see that in Gabi Mosely.

The premise of “Found” highlights the heartbreaking statistic that, in any given year, more than 600,000 people are reported missing in the U.S.

Of these reported cases, more than half of the missing persons are people of color, who are easily neglected by the system.

For its part, Peacock's comedy “Killing It” also had a presence at the festival.

Leads Craig Robinson and Rell Battle broke down the first season in a clip-and-talk style panel and discussed the show's central theme of achieving the American Dream.

Their conclusion is that this one depends, to a large extent, on the socioeconomic background of the people who are after it, while previewing a new exclusive clip from the upcoming second season.

Jeanne Mau, Senior Vice President of TV Programming Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at NBCU, introduced both panels as well as presented the Best Series Award to “I Was a Soul Train Dancer” at the Best of ABFF Awards alongside Comcast’s Keesha Boyd.


NBCUniversal returned to EssenceFest, one of the world's largest celebrations of Black culture and the nation's largest festival by daily attendance.

“Bel-Air” breakout star Jabari Banks spoke on the “Leaders of the New School” panel alongside fellow actors Dominique Fishback (“Swarm”), Jacob Latimore (“The Chi”), Joseph Sikora (“Power” franchise)Amber Stevens West (“Run the World”). They shared how they navigate relationships on set as leads of their respective series.

Later, Shanola Hampton (“Found”) and Cassandra Freeman (“Bel-Air”) participated in Essence Film Festival’s signature panel about the movers and shakers in the industry which provides space for top TV and film talent to explain how they adapt to the ever-changing entertainment business.

“Found” showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll joined comedian Gina Yashere (“Bob Hearts Abishola”) for a special Nigeria Day panel.

There they shared their respective journeys of breaking into television, as well as their desire to continue building relationships with Nollywood talent. The conversation was moderated by Toyosi Etim Effiong.

On the last day of the festival, three showrunners from unscripted and scripted shows participated in an insightful panel called “The Nuts and Bolts of Running the Show.” James Knox (“Married to Medicine”), Lorraine Haughton-Lawson (“The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard”) and Nkechi Okoro Carroll (“Found”) broke down their day-to-day responsibilities on a show including budgeting, story-shaping, and other skills necessary as a contemporary showrunner.


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