What do our
2017 National Black Theatre Festival Celebrity Co-Chairs,
Obba Babatunde and Anna Maria Horsford
have in common?

Obba Babatunde




Anna Maria Horsford


They are both native New Yorkers. Prior to coming to Hollywood, they had a solid list of accomplishments on and off Broadway. In the interest of time, I will share only a partial listing of their outstanding achievements.

Ms. Horsford appeared in the Broadway production of For Colored Girls. She was nominated for “Outstanding Special Guest Performer in a Drama Series” at the 43rd Daytime Emmy Awards.

Mr. Babatunde received a Tony nomination for his role in the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls. He received the 2016 Daytime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series” – on the same show, but I won’t tell you his name just yet. TV audiences loved Obba as the wealthy father of two half-sisters in the now syndicated television comedy series Half & Half, as well as appearances on The Young and the RestlessBoston LegalGrey’s AnatomyNCISCold Case, and Strong Medicine. He is excited about his new talk show Go Beyond The Lens With Obba Babatunde.  He’s also thrilled about his made-for-TV series Horse Talk, in which he demonstrates his rare talents as a horse whisperer.

Ms. Horsford has made guest appearances on such sitcoms as The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirGrey’s AnatomySparksMoeshaThe Bernie Mac ShowThe ShieldGirlfriends, and Everybody Hates Chris. Some of her films credits include Tyler Perry’s A Medea Christmas, Our Family Wedding, Gridiron Gang, Broken Bridges, Street Smart, Minority Report, Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls, Set it Off, Presumed Innocent, St. Elmo’s Fire, Friday and Friday After Next.

Mr. Babatunde has appeared in more than 17 stage productions; 30 theatrical films; 60 made-for-television movies; starred in many specials and two primetime series plus dozens of other singing and dancing appearances.  It is easy to understand why this Renaissance man is often referred to as one of the busiest actors in Hollywood. This season he has two new series that will be airing: Dear White People for Netflix and I’m Dying Up Here on Showtime. He just completed principal photography alongside Forest Whitaker and Johnny Depp in the feature film LAbyrinth.

Both of our Co-Chairs’ acting talents are coupled with their behind-the-scenes skills.  Ms. Horsford was a producer for the PBS show, Soul!.  Mr. Babatunde was co-producer and director of Oscar’s Black Odyssey, co-producer of Dorothy Dandridge: An American Beauty, and co-producer of TV in Black: The First 50 Years.  He is associate producer of the horror classic film Voodoo Dolls. They both appeared in the film How High.

Ms. Horsford has provided an infinite amount to society and her community through her service, her diverse capabilities, and her talent. During her first years in Hollywood she became spokesperson and fundraiser for the Institute of Black Parenting. She was awarded the title of Ambassador of Tourism of Antiqua. Her service to autism was recognized and saluted by the Barbados Association of California. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Department of Black Studies at the University of Nebraska/ Omaha, the Commitment of Excellence and Humanity Award from Sigma Gamma Rho, the Generations of Light Award from the American Bible Society and the Salute to Women in Leadership 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.

Mr. Babatunde received an Emmy nomination for his performance in the HBO movie Miss Evers’ Boys,” an NAACP Image Award-nomination for the TV movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. He originated the role of “Jelly Roll Morton” in the world premiere of Jelly’s Last Jam, and starred as Sammy Davis, Jr. in the Broadway bound musical Sammy for which he won “Best Actor.” Some of his feature film appearances include: The Celestine Prophecy, Material Girls, After the Sunset, The Manchurian Candidate, The Notebook, John Q, That Thing You Do! and Philadelphia. He directed and co-stars with Katt Williams in the Lionsgate Home Entertainment feature film American Bad Boy and produced and directed the multi-award-winning short film Clarissa’s Gift.

These multi- talented artists who portray husband and wife, Julius and Vivienne Avant on the CBS daytime series The Bold and the Beautiful. He created the role of “CC,” Jennifer Holliday’s brother in the original hit Broadway production of Dreamgirls and she created the tough Rent-A-Cop “Dee Baxter” on the popular The Wayans Bros and the beloved bachelorette “Thelma Frye,” Sherman Hemsley’s daughter on NBC’s Amen. Both shows are currently in syndication. The 2017 National Black Theatre Festival proudly salute our 2017 Co-Chairs, OBBA BABATUNDE and ANNA MARIA HORSFORD.