Jenifer Lewis Reflects on ABFF Career Achievement Award

Jenifer Lewis is one of Hollywood’s most familiar faces, with more than 300 appearances in film and television. Her latest movie, The Wedding Ringer (Sony Pictures), marks the fourth time she has starred alongside Kevin Hart. Known as the “Black Mother of Hollywood,” Jenifer currently guest stars on the hit show Black-ish (ABC), in the recurring role of “Ruby.”

She will be honored at the ABFF’s “Best of the ABFF” Awards Ceremony with a Career Achievement Award on Sunday, June 14 at the Hilton Midtown. We caught up with her on the festival’s opening night.

Q:  You are being honored with the career achievement award so can you talk about what that is like and how it feels especially being awarded by this festival and this foundation?

A:  Well it’s amazing.  Jeff Friday, the founder of ABFF is opening a world for these young artists.  There is nothing more admirable than that.  I mean, it’s the future.  It’s our future stories.  It’s amazing.  I am so proud of him and Dennis Williams of HBO. I am humbled and honored for this Career Achievement Award because awards and honors are not why I did it; I do what I do because I love it so much.  But this is what the world is and so if I can do this and a kid sees me moving on up to the East Side, then that works for me.  But, it’s all for the children now.


Q:  And you have become a season regular on Blackish so can you talk about that?

A:  Oh Blackish!  I am so excited about Blackish. So I just became a regular; they asked me to be a series regular so I will be doing 17 out of the 22.  That’s very exciting and it is one of the most wonderful sets.  It is so much fun and it’s on the set of Disney so I am having a blast.


Q:  And is there anything coming up that you would like to share?

A:  I just received an honorary doctorate from Webster University, my alma mater.  I just got a book deal from HarperCollins to write my memoir.  I am receiving the Career Achievement Award from ABFF tonight and Blackish.  So there’s a lot going on right now; I call it the harvest of my life.  And it’s wonderful.  It is a wonderful time.

-Vinesh Vora