NICE CROWD’s New Comedy Festival, Because They’re Funny, Set to Launch in Washington, DC in October 2023

Miami, FL, (June 14, 2023) – 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:

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.

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.

Coming in 2024, Locations To Be Announced

Events include: a gathering of food enthusiasts, a festival centered on exercise and wellness and a multi-day gallery dedicated to showcasing contemporary Black art.

About Nice Crowd
Nice Crowd, formerly ABFF Ventures, is a leading entertainment company in the event tourism arena. Nice Crowd specializes in the development and marketing of festivals and other live experiences that showcase BIPOC culture and achievement while promoting travel to leading destinations around the world. To learn more about Nice Crowd events, visit

Media Contacts:

Liz Biber | The Lede Company | [email protected]

Galia Slayen | The Lede Company | [email protected]

LOS ANGELES, CA, (March 17, 2021) – ABFF Ventures LLC. today announced an exclusive commercial partnership with IMG, a global leader in events, media, fashion and sports, that will see IMG sell sponsorship for the entertainment company’s portfolio of annual events.

IMG, an Endeavor company, will develop and market a long-term, cohesive sponsorship strategy for the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), ABFF Honors awards gala, and new ABFF Comedy Festival launching in 2021, as well as Film Life Foundation’s Social Justice Now Film Festival.

Founded in 1997, ABFF Ventures’ primary mission is to create properties that entertain, educate and inspire communities of color while showcasing the work of Black artists and content creators in Hollywood.

The multi-year agreement builds on the Endeavor network’s relationship with ABFF, which was formalized when Endeavor Content partnered with ABFF to launch the Social Justice Now Film Festival. IMG will also provide valuation, data and insights powered by Endeavor Analytics, and utilize the broader Endeavor network to identify new and existing assets that will help extend the festivals’ reach in different markets and facilitate year-round engagement.

“IMG is undeniably the industry leader in the events and live experiences arena,” said Jeff Friday ABFF Ventures Founder & CEO. “We are very thrilled to join forces to expand the global footprint of the ABFF brand and cultivate new partnership opportunities.”

Robbie Henchman, Executive Vice-President, IMG, said: “Over the last 25 years, ABFF has become a cornerstone for diversity in Hollywood. We’re excited to be partnering with them to re-engineer their sponsorship strategy into one cohesive aggregated offering, providing an opportunity for brands to support this incredible portfolio of festivals for the first time.

“We’ll be engaging the full power of the Endeavor network to identify expansion opportunities with the goal of maximizing the festivals’ reach and engagement in new markets around the world,” he added.

IMG owns, manages and/or represents more than 600 events around the world, including Frieze art fairs, the Miami Open, New York Fashion Week: The Shows, and Culturespaces’ new digital art center launching in New York City.

Endeavor Content is a global leader in the development, financing and sales of premium film, television, theater and audio content. Endeavor Analytics provides actionable consumer, marketplace and media intelligence to leading brands, leagues and teams.

ABFF Ventures LLC (ABFFV) is a multifaceted entertainment company specializing in the production of live and digital events that celebrate Black culture and achievement. Its mission is to curate experiences that entertain, educate and inspire communities of color while showcasing the work of Black artists in Hollywood. The company, through its flagship property the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), has been a leading advocate for diversity in Hollywood since its inception in 1997. Since then, the festival has been the standard bearer of excellence for Black creativity, having premiered the work and supported the careers of many of today’s most successful actors and content creators. ABFFV is headquartered in Los Angeles, CA and led by husband-and-wife team Jeff and Nicole Friday.

IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media. The company manages some of the world’s greatest athletes and fashion icons; owns and operates hundreds of live events annually; and is a leading independent producer and distributor of sports and entertainment media. IMG also specializes in licensing, sports training and league development. IMG is a subsidiary of Endeavor, a global entertainment, sports and content company.

Endeavor Content is a global leader in the development, financing and sales of premium film, television, theater and audio content. Endeavor Content seeks to facilitate more ownership and creative freedom for artists, creators and production companies in an ever-evolving media landscape. Endeavor Content is a division of Endeavor, a global entertainment, sports and content company.


Jo Robertson
+44 (0) 7392 088227
[email protected]

Multi-Platform Media and Event Brands Create Joint Venture Company To Produce the American Black Film Festival, Develop New Properties

December 4, 2014, New York, New YorkBLACK ENTERPRISE (BE) President and CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. and Film Life Inc. Founder and CEO Jeff Friday are announcing a new joint venture, representing a partnership between two prominent black-owned media and event companies with powerful brands, each with legacies of showcasing the best of African American culture and achievement. Black Enterprise and Film Life Inc. have formed ABFF Ventures, an equity partnership to produce the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), the ABFF Honors (formerly the Black Movie Awards) and other events and content focused on the entertainment and film industries. ABFF Ventures will operate from Black Enterprise’s Madison Avenue headquarters in New York.

“Joining with Black Enterprise represents an unprecedented opportunity to take our world-renown American Black Film Festival to another level, with a multi-media company that brings the print, television and social media reach to extend both the visibility and cultural impact of the event,” says Friday. “Also, Black Enterprise’s track record as a producer of top-notch national events is unparalleled in its own right.”

“Our live-events business continues to expand to become a true revenue driver for our company, and for the media business in general,” said CEO Butch Graves. “Bringing the American Black Film Festival into the Black Enterprise family is a significant coup for us, and will provide excellent opportunities for our clients and sponsors to establish and expand their engagement with the upscale, forward-thinking African American consumer audiences both our companies have served for decades.”

Film Life is best known for producing ABFF, a four-day event dedicated to showcasing quality films by and about people of African descent. Committed to the belief that Black content creators and artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts, ABFF founder Jeff Friday conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to promote diversity in the film and television industry. Today it serves as the preeminent pipeline to new black talent in front of and behind the camera, and is regarded as one of the leading film festivals in the world. Black Enterprise was the national media sponsor of the 2014 ABFF. The 19th annual ABFF will be held in New York City, June 11-14, 2015.

Black Enterprise is a multi-platform media company launched 44 years ago by Founder Earl Graves Sr. as a single-magazine publishing company serving African American entrepreneurs and professionals. Best known as the publisher of the award-winning business publication Black Enterprise magazine, the company also produces an expanding roster of national and custom events, including the Women of Power Summit, the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, the Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge, the 20/20 Vision Forum series on supplier diversity, the BE Smart Education Symposiums, and the newly added ABFF and Baltimore African American Festival. Black Enterprise also offers digital properties, including, and Black Enterprise social media platforms, as well as broadcast properties such as the Women of Power and Our World with Black Enterprise nationally syndicated television shows.

Film Life, Inc. is a multi-faceted entertainment and events company headquartered in New York City. The company was founded in 2001 by Jeff Friday, its current CEO. While best known for creating the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) and the Black Movie Awards, the company’s operations center on developing and licensing innovative content across all forms of media and providing strategic advisory services to a wide range of corporations in the entertainment, sports and tourism industries.

BLACK ENTERPRISE, your ultimate source to build Wealth for Life, is the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans. Since 1970, BE has provided essential business information and advice to professionals, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and decision makers. Every month, BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine provides 4 million readers with information on entrepreneurship, careers, and financial management. A multimedia company, BE also produces television programming, business and lifestyle events, Web content, and digital media.

Johann Alleyne-Morris