All Def Digital, the fastest growing video programming brand in hip hop and youth culture, will honor industry legends Will Smith and Norman Lear at the first-ever All Def Movie Awards just days before the Oscars, at the World Famous TCL Chinese 6 Theatres. The light-hearted and fun spirited event will celebrate diversity in motion picture entertainment during a live awards show on February 24 hosted by Tony Rock.
Smith will be recognized by the All Def Academy with the Lifetime Achievement Award and legendary writer, producer, director and social activist Norman Lear will receive the Vanguard Award for his enduring contributions to entertainment that helped foster an essential dialogue about race and race relations.
Said Russell Simmons, Founder and Chairman of All Def Digital: “Will Smith has broken all barriers in music, film, theater and television. 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. The All Def Movie Awards are enormously proud to honor Will Smith and his incredible body of work with our first Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Reflecting on the contributions of Norman Lear, Simmons added, “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. 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.”
Two-time Academy Award® nominee Will Smith has enjoyed unprecedented success in a career encompassing films, television and multi-platinum records. For his memorable portrayal of Muhammad Ali inMichael Mann’s Ali, he received his first Academy Award® nomination, which was followed by his second nomination for the true-life drama, The Pursuit of Happyness. Smith recently wrapped production on the David Ayer-directed Suicide Squad for Warner Bros. Pictures. Based on the DC comic book, Smith will play Deadshot opposite Jared Leto, Joel Kinnaman, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney and Cara Delevingne. The film is slated for release on August 5, 2016. He most recently starred in Concussion as Dr. Bennet Omalu, the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known. Omalu’s emotional quest put him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful institutions in the world.
Norman Lear, producer, writer, director and author has enjoyed a long career in television and film, and as a political and social activist and philanthropist. Lear began his television writing career in 1950, and went on to produce the iconic series All in the Family, which in its nine seasons on CBS, garnered four Emmy Awards for Best Comedy series and a Peabody Award in 1977. The series was followed by a succession of other hits on television, including Maude, Sanford and Son, Good Times, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Lear founded People For the American Way, a non-profit organization designed to speak out for Bill of Rights guarantees and to monitor violations of constitutional freedoms. Additionally, he formed other nonprofit organizations, including the Business Enterprise Trust (1989-2000), which spotlighted exemplary social innovations in American business; the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication (2000-present), a multidisciplinary research and public policy center dedicated to exploring the convergence of entertainment, commerce and society; and with his wife, Lyn, and Alan and Cindy Horn, co-founded the Environmental Media Association (1989-present). Lear is the author of a best-selling memoir, “Even This I Get to Experience”, now available in paperback.