Beverly Hills, CA, February 6, 2020 – Essence held its 13th annual Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon today at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Celebrating the brands 50th anniversary, this years’ ceremony honored several trailblazing women who are owning, expanding and transforming the art of storytelling including actress Lashana Lynch (Black Women In Hollywood Award Recipient); DGA nominated director and two-time Grammy Award-winning music video director Melina Matsoukas (Black Women in Hollywood Award Recipient); actress, comedian, director and producer Niecy Nash (Ford Vanguard Award Recipient); and the trailblazing cast and co-executive producer/director/writer of POSE Janet Mock, MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Angelica Ross and Hailie Sahar (Black Women In Hollywood Award Recipients).
The star-studded event was hosted by award-winning musician, actress, and television personality, Eve. Alfe Woodard, Ava DuVernay, Billy Porter, Issa Rae, and Kerry Washington served as presenters.
Brittany Howard, lead vocalist and guitarist for the chart-topping, GRAMMY Award-winning band Alabama Shakes, performed a medley of funk, soul ballads from her solo album, Jaime. The invitation-only pre-Oscar event was attended by Hollywood elites such as Angela Rye, Ava DuVernay, Billy Porter, Boris Kodjoe, Bresha Webb, Carrie Ann Inaba, CCH Pounder, Cory Hardrict, Debra Lee, Dondre Whitfield, Eva Marcille, Gabrielle Union, Garcelle Beauvais, Genevieve Nnaji, Issa Rae, Janelle Monáe, Lena Waithe, Loretta Devine, Malinda Williams, Marie Osmond, Marsai Martin, Robin Thede, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Tika Sumpter, Vanessa Williams, Yvonne Orji, and many others.
There were many notable moments during the ceremony. Washington presented a special honorary tribute to the late iconic actress Diahann Carroll, who passed away last fall. Lynch thanked her mother for being a powerful force of inspiration in her life. Speaking directly to her mother, she said, “If I can be half the woman you are, I know I have succeeded. Lynch’s speech was met with a standing ovation by the tearful audience. Mock proudly thanked ESSENCE saying: “It’s an honor to be in a space that celebrates and centers our stories. Essence remains a vital intervention, choosing to see us, how we see ourselves, in a culture that rarely ever does. Thank you for seeing us.” Nash proclaimed as she accepted the Vanguard Award presented by Ford: “Being an actress is what I do, but my who is to be of service to the world.”
ESSENCE’s Black Women in Hollywood Awards was presented by Ford and sponsored by AT&T Humanity of Connection, Coca-Cola, Geico, Hulu, L’Oréal Paris, McDonald’s and Netflix.
Photography & Video: Getty Images & Getty Video
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