Most of us blinked and when we opened our eyes,10 years have flown by and the creative team behind Time Inc.’s (NYSE:TIME) Essence, the preeminent brand for African-American women, will commemorate that unique passage of time with the 10th anniversary of its esteemed “Black Women in Hollywood Awards”—the annual Oscar-week celebration at the forefront of spotlighting Hollywood’s most creative and accomplished visionaries. This year, they are shifting from a daytime luncheon to a resplendent evening gala for the first time, with a red carpet ceremony to be held in Beverly Hills, CA, on Thursday, February 23, 2017.
Hollywood is glamorous—it’s just built that way—and the awards & gala to honor Hollywood’s “Next Generation”—will be equally matched in the fashion, shoe and hair department. Black women come to the red carpet to slay!
The young generation are excelling and in that movement they are elevating their crafts—to wit triple-threat actress/musician/entertainer Janelle Monáe (Breakthrough Award); groundbreaking actress/writer/producer Issa Rae (Vanguard Award); standout actress Aja Naomi King (Lincoln Shining Star Award); and dynamic actress Yara Shahidi (Generation Next). Actress/Producer Gabrielle Union will serve as the program’s host.
“For the past decade, the “Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards” have paid homage to our modern image-makers—both in front of the camera and behind the scenes,” said Essence Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca. “This past year has been an exceptional one for diversity in film and television, and with the incredible contributions of Janelle, Issa, Aja and Yara, it is fitting that our 10th anniversary will honor the future of Hollywood and its continued steps on the path to inclusion.”
To celebrate the power of female beauty as a facet of women’s empowerment, for the first time, internationally acclaimed visual artist and filmmaker Mickalene Thomas will be infusing the event with her elaborate imagery.
This is a big ticket event and starting with its inception (2008), the “Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards” have honored some of the most cherished figures in the industry, including Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong'o, Ava DuVernay, Halle Berry, Viola Davis, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Angela Bassett, Queen Latifah, Naomie Harris, Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, Jennifer Hudson, Zoe Saldana, Alfre Woodard, Regina King, Gabrielle Union, Tracee Ellis Ross, Debbie Allen, Nina Shaw, Mary J. Blige, Gabourey Sidibe, Quvenzhané Wallis, Jurnee Smollett, Ruby Dee, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, Loretta Devine, Mara Brock Akil, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ruth E. Carter, Nina Shaw, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Suzanne de Passe.
Hollywood lights up like Broadway on Oscar week, and in the past the elegant awards celebration has been hosted many of Hollywood’s elite, including Chris Rock, Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Amy Adams, Emma Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Forest Whitaker, James Cameron, Terrence Howard and Laurence Fishburne, among many others.
Even in New York you can stay tuned to Essence.com for highlights and behind-the-scenes access to the “Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards & Gala.”
If you prefer social media, it’s easy to follow via Twitter and Instagram @essence #BlackWomeninHollywood.
The “Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards & Gala” is presented by The Lincoln Motor Company and sponsored by AT&T, Coca-Cola, Colgate® Optic White®, GEICO, L’Oréal Paris, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Walmart.