The NNPA Honors Legacy Builders at the 2015 Torch Awards

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On March 25, 2015 the National Newspapers Publishers Association and the National Newspapers Publishers Association Foundation conducted their annual Black Press Week Conference. The affair brings together distinguished African-Americans from across the nation.

Events were held throughout the conference to highlight the contributions of members of the Black Press and their affiliates to the empowerment of African-American communities. Under the theme “Preserving the Legacy for Future Generations,” discussions about the continuity of the black print voice opened dialogue about the ways in which the generational divide between traditional print publications could be bridged. Each year as part of the conference, the NNPAF holds its annual Torch Awards Dinner to honor individuals who have made strides in industries such as politics, entertainment, business and religion.

The torch is a symbol of the enduring voice of the black press, which serves as one of the few authentic mediums of black communication, shining a light on the relevant issues in minority communities.

Among the recipients of this year’s awards, were entertainment mogul, Jeff Friday, founder and CEO of Film Life Inc.
“The Torch Award means a lot to me because the NNPA is a highly respected organization and what it stands for is solidarity in the black community,” said Friday. “What I’ve tried to do with the American Black Film Festival is really replicate what they’ve done for the entertainment community.”

Friday boasts more than twenty-five years of success as a product marketer, entertainment executive and entrepreneur. A graduate of Howard University, as well as of New York University’s Leonard Stern School of Business, he is best known for generating groundbreaking entertainment productions such as the American Black Film Festival and the Black Movie Awards.

“Unlike most of my friends I don’t direct or act,” Friday said. “I realized early on that the decision makers in the film industry don’t act and they don’t direct. They wear suits. So I always wanted to be behind the scenes in a more developmental and financial way.”

Named one of Black Enterprise magazine’s “Top 50 Hollywood Power Brokers” and Ebony magazine’s “150 Most Influential Blacks in America”, Friday’s professional efforts have been widely recognized in numerous publications, including Essence, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Uptown magazine and VIBE.

Friday uses his influence as CEO of Film Life to advocate for diversity in the film and television industries. Through his dedication and vision, he has channeled his passion for cinema into a multifaceted entertainment company that is highly respected throughout Hollywood and the independent Black film community.

Beunkka Davis is a 2015 graduate of Alcorn’s Mass Communications Department. She is currently a graduate student at Howard University pursuing a Masters degree in Mass Communications.

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