(MIAMI) — Miami’s South Beach welcomed the return of the annual American Black Film Festival on Wednesday night. With hundreds expected to arrive over the course of five days, the opening film, Superfly, drew an enormous and star-studded crowd at the Fillmore theater.
One of the stars in attendance was The Last O.G. actor Allen Maldonado, who plays the ambitious street hustler Liddy in Superfly. He says premiering his film at the festival for opening night was a surreal experience.
“This is black excellence man — to be able to celebrate and honor amongst ourselves is everything,” Maldonado tells ABC Radio. “And ABFF has been a premium outlet for upcoming black entertainers…to not just celebrate the legends, but also introduce the new newcomers. And I think what they’re doing here is incredible.”
His co-star Jason Mitchell, who plays Eddie — a very opinionated best friend to main character Youngblood Priest — adds that being a part of the film allowed him to evolve as an actor.
“To be honest, I just try to change my hat and try to change my jacket every time,” explains Mitchell, who also starred in Straight Outta Compton. “Because since I played Eazy-E, everyone’s like, ‘Oh look, Eazy-E in Mudbound and look at Eazy-E in such and such.’ So I’ve been trying to go from Eazy-E to Jason Mitchell.”
Meanwhile, the CEO of ABFF Ventures, Jeff Friday, had an important message to offer on opening night.
“We’ve got brothers making billion-dollar movies now– with hit TV shows,” Friday says referring to Ryan Cooler and Anthony Anderson. “I mean it’s a completely different world… Black is not niche anymore. Black is mainstream and we’re not going to be marginalized anymore. The marginalization of black culture is officially over.”
Superfly is in now theaters.
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