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BAFTA and AAFCA Launch Black History Month Conversation Series: “The Struggle to be Seen: The Challenges of Breaking Through for Black Creatives”

22 February 2023

The Monthly discussion series launches with US Black History Month in February and concludes in October with UK Black History Month.  

The series will bring together leading Black Creatives and entertainment executives from both sides of the Atlantic to explore their shared challenges and create new opportunities. 

LOS ANGELES and LONDON, Feb. 22 - The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and BAFTA in North America are pleased to announce a joint program designed to engage Black creatives and entertainment executives in the U.S. and U.K. around their shared challenges in the industry. Entitled “The Struggle to be Seen,” the discussion series will offer a deep dive into topics, sectors and industry roles faced by both groups within current industry structures and systems. 

In honor of American Black History Month, the series will kick off on February 27 with an event at Soho Works West Hollywood. The panel, moderated by Tamara Houston (Icon Mann) features panelists Leah Daniels-Butler (Casting Director), Charles Murray (Writer/Producer), Tamara-Lee Notcutt (Casting Director), Chike Okonkwo (Actor), Cassandra Butcher (Marketing Executive) and Franklin Leonard (Founder and CEO of The Black List). The series concludes in October to coincide with UK Black History Month.  In all, there will be a total of nine in-person and virtual discussions curated monthly by AAFCA and BAFTA. 

“We want our series to shatter industry perceptions and manipulations of Black identity, particularly in the entertainment industry and offer a path forward as the industry evolves,” stated Nyasha Hatendi, Chair of BAFTA’s North America Learning Inclusion and Talent Committee. “The series aims to highlight the experience of Black creatives working in entertainment and explore the state of Blackness in an increasingly globalized entertainment industry.”  

AAFCA co-founder and president Gil Robertson added “The Black aesthetic is global in its reach and influence. With this series we want to continue our work with BAFTA, to seed an environment for greater collaboration between artists throughout the Black diaspora.” 


Established in 2003, AAFCA is the premiere body of Black film critics in the world, actively reviewing film and television, with a particular emphasis on entertainment that includes the Black experience and storytellers from the African  Diaspora. The organization’s primary mission is to cultivate understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contributions of African descended talent to cinematic and television culture – from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the still unimagined breakthroughs of future generations.  AAFCA is committed to numerous educational and philanthropic efforts, particularly those that foster and celebrate diversity and inclusion. For more information on AAFCA and its programs visit 


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BAFTA – the British Academy of Film and Television Arts - is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For more, visit BAFTA is a registered charity (no. 216726).