It’s rare if ever that The Fresh Prince and sitcom master Norman Lear have their names spoken in the same sentence.
That however did not stop All Def Digital, a hip-hop and youth culture video company, from electing to honor Will Smith and the All in the Family creator at its first-ever All Def Movie Awards. The event, which takes place on Feb. 24 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres.,”will celebrate diversity in motion picture entertainment during a live awards show” hosted by Tony Rock (perhaps because Charlie Murphy was not available).
Smith will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award and director/writer Lear will receive the Vanguard Award for his enduring contributions to entertainment that helped foster an essential dialogue about race and race relations. DJ Jazzy Jeff will not be getting anything.
“Will Smith has broken all barriers in music, film, theater and television,” said Russell Simmons, founder and chairman of All Def Digital.
“As a Grammy Award-winner, television star and the most accomplished and bankable film artist in the world, Will uses his powerful voice for social change. ”
Lear is being honored for his groundbreaking work which shined a light on race relations in a comic, but still poignant way.
“As a writer, director, producer and author, Norman has been a true champion for people of color. He shined a light on the marginalized in our society and made us laugh,” Simmons said.
“He wrote aspirational and inspirational roles for minorities. He gave us dignity with Good Times. He gave the working class a voice in Sanford and Son. And most important to me, with The Jeffersons, he showed us that a black man could be rich and successful and do the unthinkable: he could curse at the white man while standing up for what he believes in.”