‘I am African first,’ says AAFCA Award recipient Edward James Olmos
Best-known for his work in “Blade Runner,” the cult TV series “Battlestar Galactica,” and the Oscar nominated animated film “Coco,” actor and activist Edward James Olmos was recently honored by the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA). At the event held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles, AAFCA, a professional association that promotes African-American film productions, honored the renowned actor with the Legacy award at their annual special achievement awards luncheon.
Throughout his forty year career, the Mexican-American actor has worked tirelessly to expand Latino representation in Hollywood and as he accepted his accolade, Olmos, who earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of real-life inspirational teacher Jaime Escalante in the 1988 film “Stand and Deliver” recalled a speech he had made several years ago about using the word race as a cultural determinant. He talked about his roots being African first, Asia and then Caucasian, which he said “is what makes me brown.” Olmos continued saying; “I cannot wake up in the morning without saying thank you to my roots.” In a heartfelt speech, the actor also thanked the association for the honor and for “being here and on time.”
Olmos, who has been tapped to star and direct the flick “The Devil Has a Name,” a true tale about corporate greed, was one of several honorees at the luncheon which is now in its third year. Film critic Claudia Puig received AAFCA’s Roger Ebert Award and ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey, who in 2016 became the first African-American president of ABC Entertainment Group, was presented with the Ashley Boone Award.
Samantha Ofole-Prince is a journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news that includes television and film. She can be reached at email@example.com. Photo credit: Royalty Images