Gil Robertson: Expanding The Influence and Impact of Black Film Critics - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue

BE Modern Man: Gil Robertson

Film critic and journalist; 55; CEO and Founder, the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA)

Twitter: @theaafca; Instagram: @aafca

I run the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), which represents the largest group of black film critics and journalists in the world. We are best known for producing the AAFCA Awards Gala that recognizes the best in film each year. The event has evolved into a mainstay on Hollywood‘s Awards Calendar and also a good predictor for which films and performances will do well at the Academy Awards. I also produce AAFCA’s year-round slate of programming that involves partnerships with leading film festivals, universities, and community organizations where we use film as a tool to improve people’s lives.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN LIFE?

Probably the way that I’ve been able to build a quality life through my passions. With tenacity, discipline, and luck, I’ve been very fortunate to build viable businesses that have uplifted my life and hopefully given inspiration to others.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE MANHOOD?

Being able to live life on your own terms. Also, being able to contribute to the well-being of others.

HOW HAVE YOU TURNED STRUGGLE INTO SUCCESS?

When your work involves turning ideas into something that’s real, convincing others to support you can be daunting. Sometimes you’re the only person in the room who believes, which means that you have to move forward alone. It’s important to find the right balance for what is doable and what’s not. So I’ve learned to remain open to constructive advice from people that I respect and value. If your prize is to be realized, it’s important to know that a lot of hard work will be required. But the consistent delivery of good work will always rise to the top of the class.

WHO WAS YOUR GREATEST MALE ROLE MODEL AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM HIM?

My dad and my brother for always giving me unconditional love. Our relationships were certainly not without its problems, but the love was always very real!

WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

When I was growing up, my mother always encouraged me to be happy with the face that I see each day in the mirror. As an adult, it remains something that I strive for daily. Although it can sometimes be hard, it’s good motivation for doing your best each day.

WHAT PRACTICES, TOOLS, BOOKS, ETC. DO YOU RELY ON FOR YOUR SUCCESS?

I meditate at the start of each day as a way of staying spiritually fresh and on point with my short and long term goals. I have a team of advisers who I rely on as I grow my business. My faith and understanding that God only wants what’s best for me also keeps me on the right path.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING A BLACK MAN?

Our zest for life. The natural zeal that we have for living and the way we love. We love hard! Being a black male is truly the best experience!


BE Modern Man is an online and social media campaign designed to celebrate black men making valuable contributions in every profession, industry, community, and area of endeavor. Each year, we solicit nominations in order to select men of color for inclusion in the 100 Black Enterprise Modern Men of Distinction. Our goal is to recognize men who epitomize the BEMM credo “Extraordinary is our normal” in their day-to-day lives, presenting authentic examples of the typical black man rarely seen in mainstream media. The BE Modern Men of Distinction are celebrated annually at Black Men XCEL (www.blackenterprise.com/blackmenxcel/). Click this link to submit a nomination for BE Modern Man: https://www.blackenterprise.com/nominate/. Follow BE Modern Man on Twitter: @bemodernman and Instagram: @be_modernman.