Sheba Legend wins the B Brief: Short-Form Video award at the 2016 B Free Awards. Photo: Jenna Salvagin.
Hollywood has the Oscars and the Emmys. But on Saturday, April 2, the spotlight belonged to the B Free Awards, the third annual celebration of the thousands of hours of programming produced by the free speech crusaders who share their voice on Brooklyn Free Speech. The event was produced by Brooklyn Free Speech, a New York Emmy–nominated community television network that honors alternative voices in media, and took place at BRIC Arts | Media House in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
Honorees, who strutted their stuff on the red carpet before the two-hour awards show, took home trophies in such categories as “B Hilarious,” (comedy), ”B Harmonious,” (music), and “B Healthy” (fitness and nutrition). Hosted by 2015 B Free Awards WOW! Factor winner Serrina Goodman (The Serrina Goodman Show) and Greg Johnson (BK Live and Stand Up Brooklyn), the B Free Awards is meant to celebrate and pay tribute to the dedicated television and film producers who air content on Brooklyn Free Speech.
BRIC Community Media Director Anthony Riddle presented the B Free First Amendment Award, which went to James Lane for his coverage of Rikers Island protests on his show, Hot Indie Media Presents. Riddle reminded the audience that “the First Amendment can’t protect itself. It has to be protected by the people.”
“The whole purpose of Public Access TV is so that people can speak up for themselves and expose their vision to the world,” Riddle told Brownstoner. “It just makes sense to have an event to honor and respect that work.”
In all, sixteen awards were presented. Notable winners included the Weeksville Heritage Center, recipient of the Borough President’s Award for its role as a BRIC partner in helping to document, preserve, and interpret the history of free African American communities in Weeksville, Brooklyn, and beyond.
Among the winning producers, the crowd favorite was Sheba Legend, who won for B Brief: Short-Form Video (10 minutes or less) with MasculineUs: AWAKE. Self-proclaimed “sit-down comedian” Damon Rozier entertained with his edgy humor, vocalist Gloria E. Woods sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and guitarist Marcus Machado and keyboardist Paul Boone wowed attendees with their original music.
The evening wrapped up, fittingly enough, with the Most Valuable Producer Awards, honoring two producers— Clifford Acquaye and Cordell McCammon — for their time, creativity, and extraordinary dedication to the Brooklyn Free Speech community. .
Brooklyn Free Speech is a New York Emmy–nominated community television network honoring alternative voices in media. Every week on their three public access television channels, they showcase over 650 hours of TV shows, films, and shorts created by Brooklyn-based community producers. Their state-of-the-art media center is dedicated to giving filmmakers, television artists, and organizations a place where they can create, and learn how to create, innovative media.
Through their media education program, Brooklyn Free Speech teaches close to 2,500 students annually, giving them access to free and low-cost media education courses so that they can further their television and film dreams.