2017 Robeson Awards

2017 Robeson Awards

Filmmaker Arthur Jafa has had a distinguished career with credits ranging from his work as a cinematographer for Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999) to the director of photography on Solange Knowles’s video “Don’t Touch My Hair” (2016), which also was part of a collaboration with fellow Howard University film alumnus Alan Ferguson on videos for Knowles’ 2016 album “A Seat At The Table.”  Jafa may be best known as the cinematographer of the groundbreaking “Daughters of the Dust” (1991). A collaboration with director Julie Dash, the film is now celebrating its 25th anniversary.

His 2014 film “Dreams Are Colder Than Death” premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the New York Film Festival and won the award for Best Feature Documentary at the Black Star Film Festival. Jafa’s latest work set of experimental video art  including “Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death” has been featured at the Hammer Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York. Along with another Howard University filmmaker Malik Sayeed, and Elissa Blount-Moorehead, Jafa leads the independent film studio TNEG.

The director, Sundance award-winning cinematographer, video artist and cultural critic was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and he lives and works in Los Angeles.
Keith L. Alexander,  D.C. crime and courts reporter for The Washington Post. In 2015, he was part of the team of Post journalists who spent a year examining fatal police shootings across the nation. The unprecedented investigation won numerous international awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for best national reporting.

Alexander also has worked as a financial writer, covering such events as the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. He contributed to the Post’s yearlong series “Being A Black Man,” which was nominated for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize. He was also part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for the Post’s coverage of the Virginia Tech mass shootings. Alexander also has worked for USA Today, Business Week magazine and The Dayton Daily News in Ohio. He graduated from Howard University’s School of Communication in 1991 with a degree in journalism.

Previous Paul Robeson Awardees 

Stanley Nelson          Documentarian

Bradford Young,        Cinematographer

Ava DuVernay,            Director

Kasi Lemmons            Director, Writer, Actor

Julie Dash                   Director, Writer

Sam Pollard                 Editor, Director

William Greaves          Documentary Director, Producer (1926-2014)

Cathy Hughes             Media Entrepreneur

Raoul Peck                  Director, Producer

Ossie Davis                 Actor, Director, Producer, Writer (1917-2005)

Gregory Allen Howard Screenwriter

Harry Belafonte           Actor, Singer, Producer, Activist

Spike Lee                    Director, Producer, Writer

Haile Gerima               Director, Producer, Writer

Orlando Bagwell         Documentary Producer, Director

Euzhan Palcy               Director, Writer, Producer

Gordon Parks, Sr.       Director, Writer, Cinematographer

Carl Franklin               Director, Producer

Russell Williams         Sound Mixer, Producer

Al Freeman Jr.               Actor, Director, Educator

Charles Burnett              Director, Writer, Producer

Ernest Dickerson         Cinematographer, Director

Carlton Moss

George Murphy

Ousmane Sembene (1923-2007)


Paul Robeson (1898-1976) was an African-American artist who, at the peak of his career, attained worldwide celebrity achieved by few. Despite his considerable fame as a singer and star of the stage and screen, Robeson’s greatest achievement was to selflessly serve as a champion of the battle for human rights on a global scale.  He was both praised and damned for his outspoken activism and dedication to social justice.