Essence MagazineThe Black Women in Hollywood event, now 15 years old, is known for eliciting a wide range of emotions from its honorees, and Thursday’s event – heralded Oscar nominees Aunjanue Ellis, Quinta Brunson, Chanté Adams and Nia Long – no exception.
The luncheon drew stars including Will Smith, Serena Williams, Lena Waithe, MJ Rodriguez, Robin Thede, Donald Glover and former honoree Lashanna Lynch, whose speech resembled a lecture by Ellis, who gave a speech. celebrates working in what she describes as “darkness. ”
“A lot of things about darkness are mocked: it’s horrible, we’re trained to fear it, we’re trained to think it’s ugly, it’s used as the basis for colorism, for racial segregation. But there is something called ‘dark matter’ and it makes up 80% of the entire universe. It’s called dark matter because people can’t see it but they know it exists because without it, the behavior of stars, planets and galaxies would make no sense,” said Ellis speak, read from the podium.
The metaphors continue as she describes her career, saying: “Much of my 27-year career has been in darkness… this moment of brilliance, of brilliance, will pass… but nonetheless I will continue to work in the dark. ”
Ellis received a standing ovation from the audience, one of several events taking place in the afternoon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, including guests Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Niecy Nash, Natasha Rothwell, stylists Law Roach, Tank (who finished the show in the afternoon), Tristan Wilds, costume designer Ruth E. Carter, president of Warner Bros. Television Corporation. Channing Dungey, Universal Studio Group President Pearlena Igbokwe, lawyer Nina Shaw and director Gina Prince-Bythewood.
Snow star Damson Idris hosted the afternoon ceremony. The British said to The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet, “It’s been such a blessing and a privilege to be seen by the community and I can’t wait to use my platform today to bring life and light to so many remarkable women. this idea”.
Honoree Adams, who won the Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Performance at Sundance in 2017 for her role as rapper Roxanne Shanté in Roxanne, Roxannetold CHEAP She hopes “will continue to take up space and create space in places where we normally don’t see ourselves – and provide representation for women after us.”
Newcomer, who co-stars Michael B. Jordan in Denzel Washington’s 2021 romantic drama Magazine for Jordan and was also seen in Stella Meghie’s 2020 movie Picture with Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield, wearing a royal purple dress by Sergio Hudson – “I got to pick a Black designer!” – and reflect on what it feels like to be honored at the event, in such an inspiring company. “I always feel honored even when I receive an invitation to an event like this. It’s always a good day to be a Black woman, but on a day honoring Black women in Hollywood? It was the most wonderful day. ”
Nia Long, whose cinematic legacy spans generations, played Adams’ mother in Roxanne, Roxanne and talk CHEAP That Thursday’s honor left her “speechless, but in a beautiful way,” adding: “I’m emotional, but it’s good. That means this means something, and we’re doing something as a community and as a culture… moments like this, days like this, It’s a reminder that I have to celebrate and acknowledge it. When you stop and go: my purpose here has been to make an impact on a generation of women, that matters.”
Brunson, who has been credited with revitalizing the broadcast comedy sitcom format with her fantastic fantasy hit Abbott Elementary School on ABC, described for the day as “unlike any other event, a group of black women refueling each other” and spoke to CHEAP about her recently renewed season for a second season and her new show taking on the role of a representative.
“School is a great workplace for the Black community. So it’s not just about throwing Black people on the screen, it’s where a lot of us actually work and a lot of our kids are in every day – it’s the living environment. nature of the Black characters… it naturally creates warmth, humor, empathy, and a whole lot of other things,” said Brunson, adding: “I want to make sure we make a good season. next tournament… we don’t want to feel safe. ”
Over the course of the event, each honoree was cutely introduced by a former collaborator: Producer Mimi Valdes worked with Adams on Roxanne, Roxanne; Larenz Tate recounts poetic memories of being the lead Long in the hit classic Jones Love; Glover remembers first meeting Brunson as a PA on one of his music videos, and Smith foreshadowed his co-star’s personality.
“The core of Aunjanue is fierceness, nobility, integrity. And the great thing about being friends with Aunjanue is that she demands it of you in the most loving way,” Smith said.