For Immediate Release
August 01, 2023
Contact Information

NBAF Press Contact: Eshena Roman, email at

(BPRW) NBAF Gala to honor powerhouse film producer Will Packer and feature dinner curated by celebrity chef, restaurateur and television personality, Marcus Samuelsson

(Black PR Wire) ATLANTA, GA – The National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) is proud to honor one of Hollywood’s most influential and record-breaking producers, Will Packer, with its Trailblazer in the Arts award at the organization’s annual fundraising gala on Saturday, October 7th  from 6-8 PM at the Southern Exchange Ballroom in Downtown Atlanta.

“NBAF is excited to honor critically acclaimed film producer Will Packer as our 2023 NBAF Trailblazer in the Arts Honoree. We are thrilled to celebrate his success in elevating Black actors and Black culture on screen at this year's Gala,” says NBAF Executive Director, Stephanie Owens.

Will Packer, Founder/CEO of Will Packer Productions, has produced or executive produced a wide range of movies that have grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, including “Girls Trip”, “Night School”, “Ride Along,” “Think Like a Man,” and “Straight Outta Compton”. Packer’s television, digital, and branded content company, Will Packer Media, produces episodic scripted and unscripted series across television and digital platforms and compelling content for brand clients and short-form digital content. He produced the 2022 Academy Awards. Packer serves on the board of the Atlanta Hawks Foundation, is a longtime supporter of HBCU initiatives, and is a magna cum laude graduate of Florida A&M University (FAMU).

“As a long-time Atlanta resident, I have been in awe of how the National Black Arts Festival impacts, supports, and amplifies Black arts in the Atlanta community,” said Packer. “I am thrilled and humbled to receive this honor from the NBAF.”

NBAF’s gala dinner curator, Marcus Samuelsson, is the renowned chef behind restaurants including Red Rooster Harlem, MARCUS Montreal, Streetbird at Yankee Stadium, Marcus at Baha Mar Fish + Chop House in the Bahamas, and the recently opened Marcus Bar & Grille in Atlanta, among others. Samuelsson has won eight James Beard Foundation awards as a chef, author, and TV personality.

The NBAF Gala celebrates 35 years of providing exceptional arts programming. The 2023 theme, “Mahogany” will be an evening of vintage glamour incorporating all shades of brown for a bold formal affair that offers an immersive food and art experience, in honor of Black arts trailblazers and the NBAF Horizon Emerging Artist Award winner.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit For interview requests, please email

About NBAF

NBAF (National Black Arts Festival) is recognized as the oldest multidisciplinary nonprofit arts organization in the US focused exclusively on the arts and on artists of African descent. Through its annual public and youth arts education programs, NBAF offers local, national, and international audiences experiences that are extraordinary and enriching.

Support for the NBAF Gala is provided by Fulton County Arts and Culture, Georgia Pacific, and Georgia Power.  Major funding is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners.