Although Home Box Office took home the lion's share of
the awards, it was the cable industry's commitment to developing quality programming
for diverse audiences that received the most accolades at the National Association of
Minorities in Communications' fourth annual Vision Awards April 3.
HBO's Damon Wayans Still Standing special and
its highly acclaimed movie, Miss Evers' Boys, won in the comedy and drama
categories, respectively, said Michael Velazquez, president of NAMIC's Southern
California chapter, which hosted the awards show. Programming from Ovation, MTV: Music
Television, Home & Garden Television, Bravo and Showtime Networks Inc. also took home
Vision Awards, which recognize excellence in minority-oriented cable programming.
Clayton Banks, president of NAMIC's national chapter,
said the awards show -- which was hosted by talk-show host Byron Allen -- should be
embraced by the cable industry as an event that shows cable's ability to provide
programming that reaches all of its viewers. "This shows that cable truly represents
the images of all of our lives, and it should be proud of its accomplishments," Banks
said. "There's still room to grow, however, and we would like to see even more
networks represented at future Vision Awards ceremonies."
With the CableACE Awards officially closing its doors this
year, the Vision Awards stand as the industry's only awards program. This year's
event garnered high support from the industry, with nearly 50 cable companies sponsoring
the program, including major financial commitments from The Walt Disney Co., Encore Media
Group and HBO. "We received a lot of support from many of our partners in the cable
industry, which made this our most successful event," Velazquez said.
Along with presenting awards in the children's,
documentary, news and information, drama, comedy, music and variety programming
categories, NAMIC also presented its "North Star Award" to the National Hispanic
Foundation for the Arts for its outstanding efforts in spearheading diversity in
United Parcel Service received the "Friends of
NAMIC" award for its contributions to the organization in particular and to the
entertainment business as a whole. Also, NAMIC presented $10,000 college scholarships to
two students from Crenshaw High School, a Los Angeles public school recognized for its
stellar communications curriculum.