Gil RobertsonCo-Founder, African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA)
For nearly three decades, writer/author Gil L. Robertson IV has used the written word to enlighten, empower and uplift. The one-time political organizer initially made his mark in entertainment journalism, penning over 50 national magazine covers and contributing bylines to a wide range of publications that include the Los Angeles Times, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Billboard, Fortune, Essence and Ebony. He is also the founder and creator of the nationally syndicated Arts & Lifestyle column, The Robertson Treatment, which began twenty years old with an interview with Samuel L. Jackson for Eve’s Bayou. Today, The Robertson Treatment has a reach of nearly two million. As an author, Robertson has specialized in books that empower his readers, beginning first with the self-published Writing as a Tool of Empowerment (2003), a resource guide primarily aimed at young people interested in journalism. From there, he edited the groundbreaking 2006 anthology Not in My Family: AIDS in the African American Community where he gathered a diverse mix of voices that include Oscar winner Mo’Nique, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, legendary singer Patti LaBelle and former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, all addressing one of the most pressing public health and social challenges of our time. His subsequent anthologies—Family Affair: What It Means to Be African American Today (2008) and Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships in the African American Community (2013)—ignited a national conversation about identity and love and relationships in the 21st century. In addition, Robertson has been a regular contributor to The African American Almanac (Gale Press). Accolades for his work include “Pick of the Week” selection by Publisher’s Weekly for Family Affair and a NAACP Image Awards nomination for Not in My Family. Book of Black Heroes: Political Leaders Past & Present, his latest from Just Us Books, is a full circle moment for Robertson who began the first phase of his career in politics. The collection of biographies on game-changing elected political leaders like former President Barack Obama, pioneering Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, current U.S. Senator Kamala Harris and Reconstruction era governor Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchbank is intended to introduce young readers especially to not only dynamic personalities but to the concept of individual and political leadership. Never one to sit on the sidelines of any pressing issue, in 2003, Robertson rolled up his sleeves and got to work as the cofounder of the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), the largest collection of Black film critics in North America. As its president, Robertson oversees the annual AAFCA Awards, which has become a recognized fixture of the Hollywood awards season. In addition to highlighting African American achievement behind and in front of the camera, AAFCA works with the industry to usher in and support African Americans in the Hollywood community, uniting consumers, creators and gatekeepers. Robertson also serves as a public ambassador for diversity within the industry, appearing on numerous shows on networks like CNN. Robertson earned a B.A. in Political Science from Cal State Los Angeles and is a professional member of the National Press Club, National Association of Black Journalists, The Recording Academy, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Motion Picture Association of America. He is also a national lecturer who speaks on such issues as fostering diverse representation in the entertainment industry, as well as personal and communal development.