On March 8 at the Sunset Room Hollywood, Lexus and UPTOWN Magazine will collaborate once again -- this time to proudly honor the contributions of Black comedians to American culture, arts, and entertainment. The event coincides with the 50th anniversary of hip hop (2023), as Guy Torry's iconic documentary "Phat Tuesdays: The Era of Hip Hop Comedy," explores the intersection of the music genre and Black comedy during a significant time in the 1990s.
"This year's Lexus UPTOWN Honors Hollywood spotlights the history of Black comedians who tell our stories and make us laugh while also navigating complex situations," said Mia Phillips, Senior Manager, Lexus Advertising and Media. "We applaud these comedians who have broken barriers and we're delighted to continue the tradition of celebrating those who are impacting the culture."
Honorees include Guy Torry, creator of "Phat Tuesdays: The Era of Hip Hop Comedy," Cedric the Entertainer, one of the "Original Kings of Comedy" which won a NAACP Image Award, a Chicago Film Critics Association Award, and National Film Critics Award; and star of CBS's "The Neighborhood." Also being honored is Deon Cole, who starred in "Black-ish," earning him nominations for two NAACP Image Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and now featured in the Netflix special, "Deon Cole: Charleen's Boy;" and Kym Whitley, who recently was featured in Netflix's, "You People," and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award, a BET Comedy Award and won an Indie Series Award.
Lexus has been a long-time supporter of UPTOWN Honors Hollywood, with nearly a decade as its title sponsor. UPTOWN developed the annual pre-Oscar, invitation-only, black-tie affair with Lexus to establish a legacy of recognizing Black excellence in entertainment by bringing together the industry's most prolific Black creators, writers, producers, filmmakers, and actors to pay tribute to the contributions of Black talent in Hollywood. Lexus UPTOWN Honors Hollywood will be hosted by actor, comedian, writer, and producer Chris Spencer and award-winning media personality Tai Beauchamp.
As referenced by IMdB, "Phat Tuesdays: The Era of Hip Hop Comedy," is a docuseries examining the influential 90's comedy showcase started by Guy Torry that helped launch the careers of some of the most famous Black comedians in the industry.
Other notable comedians who performed at The Comedy Store and have experienced fame since then include Dave Chappelle, Martin Lawrence, Leslie Jones, and Kym Whitley.
In the 90s, the popularity of hip hop and Black comedy was on the rise with hit shows, including "Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam," featuring what are now some of the most iconic comedians whose careers catapulted thanks to the HBO series. Rap artists and Black comics alike are credited in the film with making an indelible mark on society.
"Many comedians were excluded from 'white' comedy clubs in the 90s, so we're excited to laud the talents of those who were often overlooked," said Len Burnett Jr., co-founder and CEO of Uptown Media Ventures. "Lexus UPTOWN Honors Hollywood showcases the importance of Black voices in Hollywood while celebrating those who overcame barriers, paving a way for other Black comedians to enjoy a successful path forward."
The evening will begin with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner and an awards ceremony for approximately 250 guests, including actors, producers, and industry executives. Immediately following, guests will be invited to enjoy a star-studded after party at the Sunset Room Hollywood.
Red carpet interviews are available at 6:30 p.m. For more details on "Lexus UPTOWN Honors Hollywood," visit www.uptownmagazine.com.