Lights, Camera, Activism!

Dynamic duo recognized at 2nd Annual Philly Urban Film Awards

Inspirational activists Saj “Purple” Blackwell and her husband Tommy were honored at the 2nd Annual Philly Urban Film Awards on April 8th.

Founded by local filmmaker Jimmy DaSaint, the event brought together the city’s top writers, directors, creators, and artists for a glamorous night at the Commodore Barry Club. Purple and Tommy, known for their dedication to the community, received the prestigious “Community Activist” award, recognizing their tireless efforts against the gun violence epidemic in Philadelphia.

In her powerful acceptance speech, Purple urged everyone to join the fight against gun violence and stressed the need for change to protect the city’s youth:

“Our message remains the same until we get real change! Get up and fight for our babies! Fight back against gun violence!” Purple exclaimed to the enthusiastic crowd. She encouraged everyone to take action and make a difference in the lives of Philadelphia’s youth. “Join the fight starting TONIGHT! This isn’t a fake game, this is a real game, and it’s no joke – our children are dying for real!”

She also highlighted her ongoing efforts to support local youth, including the popular “How Dope Are You?” contest, where neighborhood kids can showcase their talents monthly. “We give out $500 to neighborhood kids. We pay them to get off the streets and make nonviolent music,” Purple emphasized. “We challenge you to send your young people to us at How Dope Are You, and we will support them.”

Tommy also delivered a heartfelt speech, expressing gratitude and emphasizing the difficult work they do to combat gun violence. “We venture into these neighborhoods without bulletproof vests, without guns. We go into some of the hardest areas of the city and talk to these young men, trying to help them find employment, return to school, or enroll in training programs. It’s a tough, thankless job, but we feel charged to do it.”

He stressed the need for collective action, saying, “Your people are the ones getting gunned down in the streets. Your kids, your nephews — people who look like you. It takes all of us together. We need all the help we can get. I thank you for this award, but there’s a lot more work to do. Let’s get to work, dawg. Let’s get to work.

The Urban Film Awards was a memorable night, with host Keith from Up the Block and attendees such as Dell-P, Dyana Williams, Bobby Rand, Laveta Cameron, and other prominent Philadelphia arts community members. Many honorees thanked organizer Jimmy Dasaint for recognizing Black excellence in the city.

The event highlighted the incredible talent Philadelphia has to offer. As awards were presented and the lights dimmed, it was clear that the creative spirit of Philadelphia was shining brightly.

Cheers to Purple and Tommy for their inspiring community work, and here’s to many more years of the Philly Urban Film Awards!

How Dope Are You?

“How Dope Are You” is an open mic night and competition where people ages 14+ are invited to perform and promote nonviolent messages.

Every 4th Wednesday, 260 South 51st Street. Doors open 6pm. Includes a free dinner and all the community love you can handle. Follow and support on Instagram @blackwellculturealliance or @pqradio1.comlive, or call 484-775-0772.

Follow Purple Queen’s solutions-oriented coverage on and youtube. Online radio for the people, by the people. Where Top 40 and Underground R&B/Hip Hop come together with politics and empowerment. On the air all day, every day. 

A partner in WHYY’s News & Information Community Exchange (N.I.C.E.) and an outspoken Local contributor, read more here

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