HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) --The seventh African American Film Critics Association Awards were handed out Wednesday evening in Hollywood.
The awards honored the work of African Americans in television and film as hundreds gathered to celebrate the excellence of their peers.
The AAFCA Awards took place just a few weeks before the Oscars, which many criticized and denounced after no minority actors or actresses were nominated for awards for the second straight year.
The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite began trending and even President Barack Obama weighed in on the topic during an exclusive interview with ABC7's David Ono.
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But the stars at the AAFCA Awards said Wednesday night was their chance to be recognized for their tremendous work.
"This year, a lot of people feel there were so many who were overlooked, who deserved to be seen, but were overlooked. And tonight is all about the fact that we're able to say, 'I see you. I see you young Coogler,'" actress Sheryl Lee Ralph said.
Ralph referenced Ryan Coogler, who was named best director for "Creed" at the awards ceremony.
"Straight Outta Compton" took home awards for both best picture and best ensemble.
"I'm glad that there are platforms like this that gives us a sort of opportunity to sort of shine from a black perspective. It means a lot," said Keith Stanfield, who portrayed Snoop Dogg in "Straight Outta Compton."
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"It's nice to be acknowledged, man, and it is nice to go home with a little somethin' somethin' in your hand," said Aldis Hodge, who played MC Ren in "Straight OUtta Compton."
"There's a need to celebrate cinematic experiences from different perspectives and that's what tonight is all about," film critic Shawn Edwards stated.
For the small screen, critics voted "How to Get Away with Murder" as TV's best drama and "Black-ish" the best TV comedy.
"I just think that it's very special to award different people of color, which I think that's very cool," Miles Brown, actor in "Black-ish," said.
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"I think it's important to celebrate the work that we're doing. And if, you know, little old awards shows don't notice sometimes, that doesn't mean that we don't notice," Angel Parker, star of "Lab Rats" said.
For his long career, director John Singleton accepted the group's legacy award. His message was simple: Just do the work.
"You know inclusion sometimes gets in the way of seeing the big picture, you know what I mean? And the big picture for me is about the work," Singleton said.
The African American Film Critics Association supports the development of future black film critics and filmmakers.
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