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Kelvin Harrison Jr. honored with Rising Star Award during ABFF Honors

Heralded as one of Hollywood’s rising stars, Harrison, Jr. shines brightly with his dynamic performances and unwavering dedication to his craft.
Kelvin Harrison, Jr positioned in front of the Cadillac CELESTIQ
Kelvin Harrison, Jr.

Kelvin Harrison Jr. is more than just an actor; he’s a force to be reckoned with in the world of cinema. Known for his ability to breathe life into dynamic and diverse characters, including Luce Edgar (Luce), Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges (Chevalier), and Fred Hampton (Trial Of The Chicago 7), Harrison’s talent has not gone unnoticed. His recent accolades, including a SAG award for his ensemble performance in “The Trial Of The Chicago 7,” only scratches the surface of his burgeoning career.

Last month, Harrison, was honored as a Rising Star during the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) Honors celebration on Sunday, March 3, at the posh SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. Receiving the award is a testament to Harrison’s dedication and future promise. In his own words, he expressed gratitude for the recognition among industry icons who have paved the way before him. His award was presented by Cadillac.

Rolling out spoke with Harrison on the red carpet ahead of the Honors Awards ceremony.

Kelvin Harrison Jr. honored with Rising Star Award during ABFF Honors
Scott Evans, Jeff Friday, Kelvin Harrison, Jr, Nicole Friday, Juanita Slappy and Tarshena Armstrong

The Rising Star Award recognizes both recent success and future promise. How does it feel to be recognized as a rising star during ABFF Honors?

I feel so honored and privileged that I get to witness all these legends in one room. It gives me so much hope. I think it’s so easy to forget the journey and the hard work that everybody puts in, so I have a new level of gratitude and a new drive to keep doing my best.

What does it mean to you to be honored during this event with all of these industry icons, including Garrett Morris, Taraji P. Henson, Mara Brock Akil, and Jeffrey Wright, who have paved the way?

I’m really emotional about it. I’m from New Orleans. As Mr. Garrett mentioned, there’s this programming that you feel unferior to the inferior. This to me felt like I’m somebody and that what I’m doing is actually meaningful and people are actually noticing it. It’s special.

Kelvin Harrison Jr. honored with Rising Star Award during ABFF Honors
Kelvin Harrison Jr, Nicole Friday and Juanita Slappy

Cadillac’s audacity campaign talks about bold resilience. In your opinion, what does audacity mean to you?

I think what is means is a disregard for anyone who is trying to diminish you. It’s any one that’s trying to put you in a box or tell you what “it is”, to me, audacity is saying “I’m not interested in that; I’m not interested in your idea; I’m not interested in your box; I’m doing me. And I want to go for it how I want to go for it. You’re either going to like it or you’re not.”

Cadillac celebrates audacious individuals. Who are some audacious women in the industry who you would like to see honored for their innovativeness, relentlessness, and their audacity?

Tracee Ellis Ross. We honor her so much, but I think we need to honor her more. I think what she stands for as a Black woman, as an artist and as a humanitarian, is so unique. I don’t think we appreciate the level of comedy that she brings. She also brings a deeper understanding of who we are as a people. I think with tthe way she’s able to communicate, the language she finds, allows us an opportunity to have some redefinition. I think sometimes we [as a people] want to simplify our greatness. I think what Tracee does is celebrates her bigness, and you’re going to love her bigness, because it’s so full. So, I think we should celebrate her more, and more, and more.

As you exited your Cadillac Escalade and proceeded to walk down the red carpet during tonight’s event, what was the sound track that was playing in our head?

In honor of New Orleans, it’s Do Whatcha Wanna by the Rebirth Brass Band.

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