(photo: Jeff Friday and Nicole Friday. photo courtesy of Nice Crowd)
ABFF Ventures, the renowned entertainment event and tourism company led by Jeff and Nicole Friday, has announced a major rebranding initiative. The company, responsible for the highly acclaimed American Black Film Festival (ABFF), now in its 27th year, and the ABFF Honors, has rebranded itself as Nice Crowd. Alongside the rebranding, Nice Crowd plans to expand its annual event offerings to include comedy, health & wellness, food, and fine art events.
The first event to be launched under the new Nice Crowd banner is the Because They’re Funny (BTF) comedy festival. BTF aims to showcase comedic talent within BIPOC communities and will debut in Washington, D.C. in October 2023. The announcement was made in conjunction with Angie Gates, CEO of Events DC Sports and Convention Authority.
Highlighting the significance of BIPOC culture and achievements, Nice Crowd’s new name emphasizes the power of gathering. Founder and CEO Jeff Friday, along with President Nicole Friday, made the announcement on the eve of the 2023 American Black Film Festival (ABFF) opening night in Miami Beach.
“We are thrilled to announce our new comedy festival, Because They’re Funny, which will launch in Washington, D.C., the hometown of many beloved comedians of color,” said Nice Crowd’s Jeff Friday and Nicole Friday. “As we reflect on the company’s accomplishments over the years, we eagerly look forward to an even brighter future with more incredible event offerings under the name Nice Crowd.”
Angie M. Gates, President and CEO of Events DC, expressed excitement about partnering with Nice Crowd for the inaugural Because They’re Funny Comedy Festival. She noted that the festival will bring new, emerging, and fantastic talent from people of color to Washington, D.C., while supporting local creatives, theaters, and performance spaces.
The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau also congratulated ABFF Ventures on its rebranding as Nice Crowd. Connie Kinnard, Senior Vice President of Multicultural Tourism & Development for the GMCVB, recognized the organization’s growth and innovation, highlighting ABFF’s impact on Greater Miami’s multicultural programming.
Since its inception in 1997, the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) has played a crucial role in promoting diversity and inclusion in Hollywood. It has showcased the work of many successful filmmakers, actors, writers, and comedians, establishing itself as a paragon of excellence for Black creativity. The opening night of the 2023 ABFF featured a screening of the upcoming Netflix film, They Cloned Tyrone, starring John Boyega, Teyonah Parris, and Jamie Foxx. Emmy®-winning writer, producer, and actor Lena Waithe served as the ABFF’s 2023 Festival Ambassador.
Under the leadership of Jeff Friday and Nicole Friday, Nice Crowd curates culturally impactful events such as the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) and the ABFF Honors, an awards gala recognizing excellence in Hollywood. The company is expanding its event offerings this year to include comedy and food events from BIPOC communities and individuals.
The 2023/2024 Nice Crowd event lineup includes the ABFF Global Film Series, an international screening series promoting Black content and encouraging collaboration among artists from the African Diaspora. In partnership with S.O.U.L Fest, the 2023 series will be held at the British Film Institute in London.
The Because They’re Funny (BTF) comedy festival, scheduled for October 6-8, 2023, in Washington, D.C., aims to celebrate diversity within the comedy arena and support Black and Brown stand-up comics
to thrive in Hollywood. The festival will feature headline acts, new comic showcases, industry workshops, panels, film screenings, networking events, and exclusive parties. It will take place at the Anthem Theater and premier venues along The Wharf, a popular entertainment hub on Washington, D.C.’s southwest waterfront.
March 2024 will mark the return of the ABFF Honors in Los Angeles, CA. This annual event celebrates accomplished artists alongside rising stars, fostering a sense of mutual appreciation among multigenerational talent in Hollywood. The ABFF Honors recognizes Black artists who have made significant contributions to American entertainment and those who champion diversity and inclusion. Previous award recipients include Denzel Washington, Ava DuVernay, Regina King, Tiffany Haddish, and Ryan Coogler, among others. Cadillac serves as the presenting sponsor and exclusive automotive partner for the ceremony.
In addition to these marquee events, Nice Crowd has exciting plans to expand its offerings further. In the coming year, they will introduce additional events celebrating food, fitness, art, and more. These events will provide platforms to showcase the rich cultural contributions of BIPOC communities and individuals. Further details about these events and their locations will be announced in due course.
Nice Crowd’s dedication to creating meaningful connections and shining a spotlight on diverse talent has left an indelible mark on the tourism landscape of Greater Miami. As the company expands and rebrands, it continues to contribute to the multicultural programming in the area, exemplified by the success of initiatives like the Art of Black Miami.
With its commitment to highlighting BIPOC culture and achievements, Nice Crowd is poised to build on its legacy and forge an even brighter future. The rebranding reflects the company’s evolution and its mission to create extraordinary experiences that unite diverse communities. As it expands its event offerings to encompass comedy, health & wellness, food, and fine art, Nice Crowd aims to foster inclusivity and celebrate the power of gathering.
For more information about Nice Crowd and its upcoming events, visit their official website or follow their social media channels for updates.