Tanya Kersey, founder of The Hollywood Black Film Festival, recently died from cardiac arrest at the age of 61 in Rancho Cucamonga, California.
According to reports, Tanya’s daughters, Monique Love and Brittany Love, and her sister Lisa M. Kersey announced her passing on Facebook.
“I love you mommy! It is with great sadness that I post the passing of my beautiful mommy, Tanya Kersey,” Monique wrote on July 19. “My mommy passed away peacefully, surrounded by her loved ones, yesterday evening. As many of you know, my mom has been battling multiple health issues for many years with dignity and grace. Although we will miss her dearly, we find solace that she is no longer in pain. She is now in perfect peace with her Mom & Dad.”
She added that she was thankful for everyone’s “love and support during this difficult time.”
Tanya founded The Hollywood Black Film Festival in 1998 and served as its executive director. The festival was an annual celebration of Black cinema that was created to attract filmmakers, film and TV stars, industry executives, and more from Southern California and around the globe. It reportedly drew in over 40,000 attendees throughout the years and screened over 1,000 movies.
Notable guests of the festival included the late iconic actor Sidney Poitier, actresses Loretta Devine and Sanaa Lathan, actors Forest Whitaker, Blair Underwood and Antwone Fisher, and late legendary film director John Singleton. The last festival took place in 2018, and it eventually came to an end.
Prior to founding The Hollywood Black Fillm Festival, Tanya founded the entertainment industry trade publication Black Talent News and its website BlackTalentNews.com. The NYC native also served as the company’s CEO.
Tanya had her hand in many pots as she was previously an entertainment journalist for various publications and founded the boutique film consulting firm, The Kersey Group. In addition, she co-authored a self-help guide titled Black State of the Arts: A Guide to Developing a Successful Career as a Black Performing Artist (1991), which reportedly established her as a highly requested public speaker.
Following her passing from cardiac arrest, it was reported that Tanya is survived by Monique, Brittany and two grandsons.