Jeff Friday is a true change agent and among the most innovative entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry today. Television and film producer and film festival trailblazer, Friday has earned respect throughout the entertainment industry and creative community as a champion of diversity in Hollywood.
In 2019 Friday formed Jeff Friday Media (JFM), a Los Angeles-based company that produces film, television and digital content as well as events focused on Black and Brown culture. As CEO, Friday oversees all of JFM’s businesses, including Jeff Friday Productions; ABFF PLAY, a live and on-demand streaming platform; and ABFF Ventures, LLC, an event company acquired by JFM in 2021 comprised of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), “ABFF Honors,” ABFF Comedy Festival, ABFF London Film Festival and the ABFF Global Film Series.
Fueled by Friday’s determination to advance diversity and inclusion in Hollywood, JFM’s mission is to promote the work of Black and Brown storytellers and provide opportunities for new creatives in the industry. Output agreements with major media companies, including Warner Bros. Discovery, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Endeavor Content, further bolsters JFM’s global reach and corporate viability.
JFM has partnered with HBO Documentary Films and Oscar-winning production company Lightbox on an as yet untitled feature documentary about Black supermodel Donyale Luna, with Friday as executive producer. Other productions from JFM include the acclaimed feature documentary Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn, currently on HBO Max, and digital production Hollywood Homecoming, a reunion series that features the directors and casts of iconic Black films, which premiered on IMDb to over 2MM viewers.
Jeff Friday’s desire to promote films by Black filmmakers with stories of Black people was ignited over twenty-five years ago following his first visit to a major film festival. Pursuing his love of Black films and frustrated when he realized the limited opportunities available to view them, he took a blind leap of faith, left his lucrative position at a prominent multicultural advertising agency and co-founded the Acapulco Black Film Festival in 1997. He later acquired full rights to the festival renaming it the American Black Film Festival and moved it stateside. The festival gained immediate recognition among filmmakers, audiences and the industry, which included HBO signing up as a founding sponsor.
Today ABFF is acknowledged as a leading platform for Black film and television and an important conduit continuing to provide filmmakers and content creators of color worldwide inroads to the entertainment industry. In 2019, ABFF was honored to have historical photographs and other archival material be included in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington D.C.
At the core of Friday’s legacy is his track record and keen instinct for identifying artists who have the talent and commitment to succeed in Hollywood. Many were initially showcased at the ABFF. Friday further expanded his efforts to provide opportunities for new voices in entertainment with the creation of the NFL Pro-Hollywood Boot Camp—an intensive film education workshop for National Football League players aspiring to start a post-sports career in the motion picture industry.
Friday’s drive and commitment to foster Black content, creative community and diversity throughout the film and television industry have been widely commended. At the 26th ABFF, New York University (NYU) presented Friday with the Global Trailblazer Award for Entrepreneurial Innovation and Civic Excellence for his decades of committed services. He was named by Black Enterprise magazine as one of “Top 50 Hollywood Power Brokers,” and among Ebony magazine’s “150 Most Influential Blacks In America.” Friday’s other honors include ringing the NASDQ closing bell to celebrate the American Black Film Festival, receiving the key to the city of Miami and Miami Beach, and Kean University’s Outstanding New Jerseyan Award. In addition, “Jeff Friday Day” was proclaimed in his hometown of Newark, N.J.
In every facet of his professional endeavors Friday is committed to the belief that Black artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts and devotes his time and energy working to fulfill that belief. He is often called upon to speak about film marketing and distribution and issues related to diversity in Hollywood to students from Howard to Harvard universities, as well as to industry executives—continuing to strive to promote diversity, uplift the community and expand the recognition of Black culture.
Friday’s professional efforts have been covered in numerous publications, including Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Crain’s, Inc., Black Enterprise, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. He has been profiled on NBC’s Good Day New York, Fox Business and ABC’s Here and Now. Friday has also been featured in print advertising campaigns for such brands as Walmart, Allstate and Chanel.
Friday is a cum laude graduate of Howard University with a degree in finance. He received his MBA from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. Friday resides in Los Angeles with his wife Nicole and their two teenage sons.