ABFF Ventures – the company led by Jeff and Nicole Friday – that created the American Black Film Festival, now in its 27th year, and the acclaimed annual event, the ABFF Honors, today announced that ABFF Ventures will be rebranded as Nice Crowd, and will expand its annual event offerings to include comedy, health & wellness, food, and fine art events. The first new event under the Nice Crowd banner will be Because They’re Funny (BTF), a new comedy festival showcasing comedic talent within BIPOC communities, which is set to launch in Washington, D.C. in October 2023, and was announced together with Angie Gates, CEO of Events DC Sports and Convention Authority.
Dedicated to highlighting BIPOC culture and achievements, the entertainment event and tourism company’s new name, Nice Crowd, emphasizes the power of gathering.
ABFF Ventures has been the leading events entertainment company specializing in live experiences that showcase BIPOC culture and achievement. Nice Crowd founder and CEO Jeff Friday and President Nicole Friday made today’s announcement ahead of the opening night of the 2023 American Black Film Festival (ABFF) in Miami Beach.
“We are so thrilled to announce our new comedy festival, Because They’re Funny, which launches in Washington, DC, the hometown of many of today’s most beloved comedians of color,” said Nice Crowd founder and CEO Jeff Friday and President Nicole Friday. “While we proudly reflect on this festival and the company’s many accomplishments over the years, we look forward to an even brighter future, with even more incredible event offerings, as Nice Crowd.”
“I am excited to partner with Nice Crowd to bring the inaugural Because They’re Funny Comedy Festival to Washington, DC,” said Events DC President and CEO Angie M. Gates. “Not only will the festival bring new, emerging and fantastic talent by people of color to our city, but it will support our local creatives, our theaters and performance spaces, their employees and the nation’s capital as a whole. We love welcoming visitors to our diverse and inclusive city while celebrating creativity and having a great time.”
“The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau extends a heartfelt congratulations to ABFF Ventures on the remarkable newly expanded rebrand ‘Nice Crowd,” said Connie Kinnard, Senior Vice President of Multicultural Tourism & Development for the GMCVB. “This momentous occasion not only signifies growth and innovation for the organization but also highlights the immense inspiration ABFF has had on Greater Miami’s multicultural programming such as the Art of Black Miami. We welcome ABFF’s unwavering dedication in fostering meaningful connections and shining a spotlight on diverse talent. ABFF Ventures’ transformative impact to Greater Miami’s tourism landscape is truly remarkable and anything that grows their audience is also beneficial to the Miami and Miami Beach community.”
Since its inception in 1997, the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) has become a cornerstone for diversity and inclusion in Hollywood. It premiered the work and supported the careers of many of today’s most successful filmmakers, actors, writers and stand-up comedians and is recognized as a standard-bearer of excellence for Black creativity. Along with the Nice Crowd rebranding announcement, the opening night of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) included a screening of the upcoming Netflix satirical conspiracy caper film They Cloned Tyrone, which stars Golden Globe winner John Boyega (Small Axe, Attack the Block, Star Wars), Teyonah Parris (The Marvels, WandaVision) and Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx. Emmy®-winning writer, producer and actor Lena Waithe is ABFF’s 2023 Festival Ambassador.
Led by the power couple of Jeff Friday and Nicole Friday, Nice Crowd’s curated and culturally impactful events include the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) as well as the ABFF Honors, an awards gala saluting excellence in Hollywood. Nice Crowd is expanding event offerings this year to include events elevating comedy and food from BIPOC communities and individuals.
New and returning Nice Crowd events in 2023/2024 include:
ABFF GLOBAL FILM SERIES
September 1-3, 2023, London
An international screening series promoting the universal appeal of Black content while encouraging collaboration between artists throughout the African Diaspora. Each year, the series visits a major cultural hub around the world. The 2023 event, in partnership with S.O.U.L Fest, will take place at the British Film Institute in the UK.
BECAUSE THEY’RE FUNNY
October 6-8, 2023, Washington, D.C.
Because They’re Funny (BTF), is a new comedy festival showcasing comedic talent within BIPOC communities. The festival’s mission is to celebrate the diversity that exists within the comedy arena and help propel a new generation of Black and Brown standup comics to success in Hollywood.
Curated for industry insiders and casual fans alike, the BTF lineup will feature headline acts, new comic showcases, industry workshops, panels, film screenings, networking events and exclusive parties. The inaugural event will take place at the Anthem Theater and other premier venues along The Wharf, a popular entertainment hub on Washington, DC’s southwest waterfront, from October 6-8, 2023. BTW is presented in partnership with Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia. Cadillac is the festival’s presenting sponsor and exclusive automotive partner.
March 2024, Los Angeles, CA
The annual ABFF Honors celebrates acclaimed artists alongside rising stars, creating a spirit of mutual appreciation amongst multigenerational talent in Hollywood, honoring Black artists who have made significant contributions to American entertainment through their work as well as those who champion diversity and inclusion in Hollywood.
Going into in its sixth year, the ABFF Honors’ list of celebrated award recipients include Denzel Washington, Ava DuVernay, Regina King, Tiffany Haddish, Ryan Coogler, Don Cheadle, Will Packer, Queen Latifah, Lena Waithe, Terrence Howard, F. Gary Gray, Billy Dee Williams, Issa Rae, Omari Hardwick, Louis Gossett, Jr., the late Diahann Carroll, Janelle Monáe, Kerry Washington, and the cast of classic films and television shows including Martin, The Wire, Hollywood Shuffle, Eve’s Bayou, and Love Jones.
Cadillac is the ceremony’s presenting sponsor and exclusive automotive partner.