Tag: Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon

Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rhimes Join Essence to Celebrate Black Women in Hollywood, Honor Debbie Allen

Honoree Debbie Allen and family (photo via blackamericaweb.com)

article by Sandy Cohen, AP via blackamericaweb.com

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Oscar host Chris Rock, producer Reginald Hudlin and film academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs took an afternoon off from Academy Awards preparations to celebrate black women in Hollywood.

Rock, Hudlin and Boone Isaacs were among the guests at Essence magazine’s ninth annual awards luncheon Thursday at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Rock and Boone Isaacs didn’t speak publicly; Hudlin took the stage to present an award to legendary entertainer Debbie Allen.

The annual Essence event celebrates the achievements of black women in entertainment. Actress Tracee Ellis Ross, entertainment attorney Nina Shaw and filmmaker Thais Francis were also recognized.

Francis thanked the magazine “for creating a platform of visibility.”

“A lot of us in this audience know the importance of visibility, especially during a time, in a society, in a world, in an industry that’s telling us that we’re invisible,” she said.

Shonda Rhimes, who introduced Allen as the new producing director of “Grey’s Anatomy,” called the writer-director-choreographer-performer “a force of nature.”

Producer/writer Shonda Rhimes attends the Essence 9th Annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP)
Shonda Rhimes (photo via blackamericaweb.com)

“Debbie blows through an environment and changes the landscape forever,” Rhimes said.

As Allen accepted the Legend Award, she said she felt like she was in church, preaching to her sisters.

“The only plate I’m going to pass is the plate of purpose,” she said, urging the women in the audience to make real connections with each other — not just to meet up for drinks, but to work on ways of changing the world.

Shaw gave similar advice as she accepted the Power Award. The attorney for such entertainers as Laurence Fishburne, Lupita Nyong’o and Ava DuVernay was introduced by Nick Cannon and Channing Dungey, who became the first African-American to head a broadcast network when she was named president of ABC Entertainment last week.

“If you are a woman who wants to be empowered, then empower other women,” Shaw said.

“Black-ish” star Ross, accompanied by her father and older sister, Rhonda, accepted the Fierce and Fearless award. Ross said she had been sick for the past week and worried she wouldn’t be able to attend the luncheon.

“I got dressed in the car,” she said. “I’m unclear if what I’m wearing is see-through. If it is, I’m sorry.”  She said the recognition from Essence “is truly one of the proudest moments I’ve experienced.”

Oprah Winfrey opened the program, which will air Saturday on OWN.

To read more, go to: http://blackamericaweb.com/2016/02/26/oprah-winfrey-shonda-rhimes-join-essence-to-celebrate-black-women-in-hollywood-honor-debbie-allen/

Debbie Allen, Tracee Ellis Ross and Nina Shaw To Be Honored At ESSENCE’s Black Women in Hollywood Event

BWIH 2016
Nina Shaw, Tracee Ellis Ross and Debbie Allen (photo via essence.com)

From Essence.com:  ESSENCE is gearing up to honor and celebrate three bright talents in entertainment for our 9th annual Black Women in Hollywood event.

Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross will take home the Fierce & Fearless award, iconic director, producer and actress Debbie Allen is being honored with the Legend award, and entertainment attorney Nina Shaw will be presented with the Lincoln Power award.

In a climate where the conversation surrounding the roles, contributions and recognition of African-Americans in Hollywood is heavily charged, ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca points out the importance of the event.

“We are delighted to continue the tradition of honoring exceptionally talented women who are making significant contributions as creators and performers in Hollywood. At a time when the conversation about diversity in Hollywood remains prevalent, recognizing the indomitable power and presence of Tracee Ellis Ross, Debbie Allen and Nina Shaw at our annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon embraces an inclusive and diverse Hollywood community.”

The Black star power doesn’t end with the phenomenal honorees! The event will also feature appearances by Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rhimes, Nick Cannon, Ryan Coogler and Zendaya to name a few.

Fans can get full access to the event by tuning into the live stream on ESSENCE.com starting at 12:15 p.m. PT/3:15 p.m ET on February 25.

Black Women in Hollywood be televised as an ESSENCE and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network special airing Saturday, February 27 at 10 p.m ET/PT on OWN.

Read Lupita Nyong’o’s Moving Speech about Beauty at ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon

Lupita Nyong'oLupita Nyong’o was awarded Best Breakthrough Performance for her work in 12 Years a Slave at yesterday’s ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood LuncheonJust like at the Critics Choice Awards, her acceptance speech was sad and inspiring and beautiful — all at the same time. Here it is, in full:

I wrote down this speech that I had no time to practice so this will be the practicing session. Thank you Alfre, for such an amazing, amazing introduction and celebration of my work. And thank you very much for inviting me to be a part of such an extraordinary community. I am surrounded by people who have inspired me, women in particular whose presence on screen made me feel a little more seen and heard and understood. That it is ESSENCE that holds this event celebrating our professional gains of the year is significant, a beauty magazine that recognizes the beauty that we not just possess but also produce.

I want to take this opportunity to talk about beauty, black beauty, dark beauty. I received a letter from a girl and I’d like to share just a small part of it with you: “Dear Lupita,” it reads, “I think you’re really lucky to be this black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.”

My heart bled a little when I read those words, I could never have guessed that my first job out of school would be so powerful in and of itself and that it would propel me to be such an image of hope in the same way that the women of The Color Purple were to me.

I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I was the day before. I tried to negotiate with God, I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted, I would listen to my mother’s every word and never lose my school sweater again if he just made me a little lighter. But I guess God was unimpressed with my bargaining chips because He never listened.

And when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence. My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful but that was no conservation, she’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful. And then … Alek Wek. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me, as beautiful. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden Oprah was telling me it wasn’t. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy. But a flower couldn’t help but bloom inside of me, when I saw Alek I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny. Now, I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far away gatekeepers of beauty. But around me, the preference for my skin prevailed, to the courters that I thought mattered I was still unbeautiful. And my mother again would say to me you can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t feed you and these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.

And what my mother meant when she said you can’t eat beauty was that you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul. It is what got Patsey in so much trouble with her master, but it is also what has kept her story alive to this day. We remember the beauty of her spirit even after the beauty of her body has faded away.

And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.

There is no shade to that beauty.

To see video of this speech, click here.

article by Lindsey Weber via vulture.com

Essence to Honor Oprah at ‘Black Women in Hollywood’ Luncheon

oprah (whiteshirt)

Essence is honoring some powerful black women who have done some extraordinary work in the film and television industry at the 6th annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon.  The prestigious event will take place at the Beverly Hills Hotel on February 21.  This year’s honorees include Oprah Winfrey, Alfre Woodard, Gabrielle Union, Mara Brock-Akil, Naomie Harris, and breakthrough performer, Quvenzhané Wallis.

“The ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon recognizes the ‘Power of our Presence’, by spotlighting the stellar accomplishments of African-American female performers and creators in film and television,” says Essence editor-in-chief, Constance C.R. White. ”More importantly, the annual luncheon serves as a source of support and inspiration for the incredibly talented community of Black women who are often overlooked in Hollywood.”

Over the years, others like Viola Davis, Zoe Saldana, Angela Bassett and Pam Grier have been honored for their phenomenal contributions.

article by Brittney M. Walker via eurweb.com