And the Winner Is… Gil!


Gil Robertson

The “African American Film Critics Association Awards” Interview

with Kam Williams

And the Winner Is… Gil!

Gil L. Robertson IV is one of America’s foremost authorities on African-American pop culture. As a journalist, author, lecturer and media consultant, he is responsible for literary works and intellectual properties that provide platforms for social change and personal growth.

Gil Robertson, The “African American Film Critics Association Awards” Interview, with Kam Williams, authority on African-American pop cultureGil is the editor of the bestselling anthologies Family Affair: What it Means to be African American Today, and the 2006 release, Not in My Family: AIDS in the African American Community, both nominated for NAACP Image Awards in the Outstanding Non-Fiction category.

He is also the author of “Writing as a Tool of Empowerment,” a resource book for aspiring journalists, and “Where Did Our Love Go: Essays on Love & Relationships in the African American Community.” And Just Us Books is set to release his first children’s book, “Great African American Political Leaders.”

On television, Gil has shared his expertise on topical issues on numerous networks,

Gil Robertson, The “African American Film Critics Association Awards” Interview, with Kam Williams, authority on African-American pop culture

Gil Robertson

including CNN, HLN, MSNBC, E Entertainment, National Public Radio and the Tavis Smiley Show. In addition, as a popular lecturer on the national circuit, he addresses issues that impact professional growth strategies and personal development.

Gil is a co-founder and President of the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), as well as the founder of the Robertson Treatment’s Media Workshop, an annual journalism initiative presented at the Auburn Avenue Research Library in Atlanta, Georgia and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City.

A graduate of Cal State Los Angeles, Gil is the founder and editor of the nationally syndicated Arts & Lifestyle column, the Robertson Treatment which appears in 30 newspapers across the country boasting a readership in excess of 2 million. He is a professional member of the National Press Club, The National Association of Black Journalists, The National Academy of Recording Arts & Science, The National Academy of Television Arts and Science and The Motion Picture Academy.

Here, Gil talks about the 7th Annual African American Film Critics Association Awards ceremony which will be held at 8 pm on Wednesday, February 10th at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood.

Kam Williams: Hi Gil, thanks for the interview.

Gil Robertson: Thank you the opportunity, my AAFCA brother!

KW: Congratulations on the AAFCA Awards which has grown in stature in recent years.

GR: Thanks, Kam. Yes, this is our 7th year and, although we’re experiencing a little itch, it’s all good. We’re celebrating Straight Outta Compton and Ryan Coogler from Creed, as well as Teyonah Parris from Chi-Raq. Our Special Achievement honors are going to the terrifically talented John Singleton and Reginald Hudlin, as well as business phenoms Jeff Clanagan and Maverick Carter. It’s truly a special night!

KW: Is it safe to assume this year’s ceremony will be better attended than ever, given the number of stars calling for a boycott of the Oscars after the Academy failed to nominate any black actors or actresses for the second year in a row.

GR: Our show has always attracted an amazing array of executives and creatives from the film and TV community, as well as an impressive list of celebrity talent. We look forward to giving them a high-quality event.

KW: Isn’t it very revealing that Sly Stallone was nominated in the Supporting Actor category for Creed, but its African-American star, Michael B. Jordan, and director, Ryan Coogler, were both snubbed? And the only nomination garnered by Straight Outta Compton, which featured a black cast and director, was for its script which was written by four whites.

GR: Now let’s have real talk! While the Academy doesn’t blatantly promote itself as an organization for whites only, it’s hard to see the Oscar as an award for all. That’s the big elephant in the room. You call yourself the Academy Awards and you say your awards are based solely on merit without consideration to race or gender but, historically, all the awards are going to white people except for a few exceptions when a black performance was just so elevated that it couldn’t be ignored, like a few years ago when Lupita Nyong’o won for 12 Years a Slave.

KW: How long do you think it’ll take for the Oscars to be more inclusive? Its President, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is African-American, recently announced plans to double the number of minority voters by 2020. But if blacks are about 4% now, that’s just a 1% increase per year. Would that likely alter the outcome?

GR: Ms. Isaacs is putting the work in, and I’m very confident that the seeds she plants will grow. Change takes time and, as Hollywood mirrors larger American society, this process will too.

KW: Besides offering an alternative to the the Oscars, why should people attend the AAFCA Awards?

GR: The AAFCA Awards are necessary because they offer us an opportunity to celebrate ourselves. The Oscars are never going to give us the due that we feel we deserve and that’s okay. As a community, we must move past that and instead support the institutions that do. Black people, your support is necessary and you cannot sit out this party, if you’re serious about wanting to see some real change.

KW: Who are some of the luminaries you hope will attend?

GR: The room will be filled with luminaries, but we are really thrilled to welcome the cast of Straight Outta Compton, Ryan Coogler from Creed, Kenya Barris, the creator of Black-ish, the incredibly-lovely Teyonah Parris, plus an impressive lineup of hot young faces who represent the next wave of talent in Hollywood.

KW: I know that AAFCA operates year-round, not just during awards season. What sort of programs do you have planned for 2016?

GR: We are especially excited to see an expansion of our Student Boot Camps to three more campuses across America. By the year’s end, AAFCA’s Boot Camp will literally extend to the four corners of America. The AAFCA Seal of Approval program continues to expand. Our seal will appear on releases from Array, Codeblack, Swirl and other studios this year. For 2016, AAFCA is going to especially ramp up our film festival partnerships. I can’t announce details yet, but look for us to create some significant and very strategic inroads with various films festivals throughout American and aboard. Over the summer, we’ll be back with Synergy in Atlanta with a special honoree to be announced shortly. And before the year is done, I am hopeful to announce a broadcast partner for 2017. We definitely have a big year in store. Please visit our website []    and hook up with us via social media to remain connected.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Gil, and best of luck with AAFCA.

GR: Thanks, Kam.


For movies opening October 28, 2016

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening October 28, 2016 BIG BUDGET FILMS Inferno (PG-13 for action, violence, profanity, disturbing images, mature themes and brief sensuality) Third installment of The Da Vinci Code franchise finds symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) suffering from amnesia and on the run with his physician (Felicity Jones) from a billionaire geneticist (Ben Foster) with a … [Read More its Good for You...]


Blue and Red Make Purple & Under the Moon: Jazz Standards and Lullabies

Blue and Red Make Purple & Under the Moon: Jazz Standards and Lullabies Two picture books with music are available this fall from The Secret Mountain   More information is HERE.   Blue and Red Make Purple: A Musical Journey with Jennifer Gasoi Illustrated by Steve Adams   Available on October 1, 2016   "A tour-de-force sampler of musical styles." ~ a 2016 Parents' Choice Gold Award winner! "Bright … [Read More its Good for You...]


ART EXHIBITION: 150 Years After The Civil War

  Cynthia Groya 150 Years After The Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective January 10 - March 6, 2016 Artist's Reception: Sunday, January 24, 3:00 - 5:00 pm Nassau Club 6 Mercer Street  Princeton, NJ 08540 The ideas reflected in Groya's paintings express a conversation about struggle for equal rights in our culture, in our time. The origin of this struggle can be traced to The Civil War in our country, which ended 150 years ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Castles in America

  Castles in America by Amy Lignor   Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” taught us all long ago that we absolutely love to sit and view ridiculous luxury (usually owned by people who inherited all of it and didn’t work a day in their lives). See that? We had to complain about something as we were beguiled by the amount of money people would send to own or create the “best of the best.” Even though some things were referred to as the “gaudiest of … [Read More its Good for You...]


It’s Not Your “Grandma’s” Pumpkin Anymore

  It’s Not Your “Grandma’s” Pumpkin Anymore by Amy Lignor   As times move forward, technology expands. However, so does the imagination. No, I’m not talking about a new cell phone or animatronic device that creates pumpkins; I’m talking about some seriously cool ways to carve pumpkins that are popping up all over the internet. Unique, awesome, colorful – people across the U.S. have used their imaginations during the 21st century to create some of the most stunning … [Read More it Good for You...]


Finally, a Boat Shoe You Can Get Wet

  Finally, a boat shoe you can get wet   By Craig Lamb   I am happiest with wet feet. For me, that means wading a shallow saltwater flat, casting for tailing redfish. Or paddling aboard my sit-on-top kayak, cruising a river in search of smallmouth bass. Not my favorite, but when the fish are biting, fishing in the rain.   Yep, I do like getting my feet wet, but it can get downright annoying when my shoes stay wet. Footing is a challenge when shoes … [Read More its Good for You...]


Saying Goodbye to Legends…

    Saying Goodbye to Legends… by Amy Lignor   When someone you admire departs the Earth, it is extremely sad to come to terms with. In the days just passed, people and fans had to deal with the departure of two men from the world of sports. Although one perhaps was not a surprise, seeing as that the gentleman lived a good, long life, the other departure was shocking. One was a legend, while the other was on the road to becoming just that.    When … [Read More its Good for You...]


The Business of “Fear” Brings in $8 Billion a Year

  The Business of “Fear” Brings in $8 Billion a Year by Amy Lignor   There are aspects of Halloween everyone knows about. From the scary boogeyman to the haunted houses set up in cities and counties from sea to shining sea, the world certainly understands that the “frightening” is also the “entertaining” when it comes to All Hallows Eve. What most may not know, however, is the fact that Halloween is a billion (yes, BILLION) dollar industry. People are more than … [Read More its Good for You...]


Hunting for a Haunt

  Hunting for a Haunt by Amy Lignor   Yes, October is here and Halloween costumes have been flying off the department store racks. Even places like The Home Depot have put up their inflatable dragons, witches on brooms, etc. for the front lawn so that trick-o’-treaters can have a little ‘scare’ as they come for the candy.   However, there is far more than just “cute” out there. In fact, millions of people look for the scariest haunt they can find; one … [Read More its Good for You...]