One of Oscar’s week most illustrious and star-studded events, ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon honors African American women in film and television. On February 25 in sunny California, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel,  the top media company presented awards to prominent figures for their impressive and influential work on screen. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events and online, Essence highlights diversity and the achievements of African-American actresses.


Celebrity appearances and guests included Oprah Winfrey, Chris Rock, Jurnee Smollet-Bell, Nate Parker, Meagan Good, Kelly Rowland, Tika Sumpter, Keke Palmer, Amber Riley, Serayah, Lala Anthony, and Margaret Avery.

This year, Tracee Ellis Ross was presented the Fierce & Fearless Award by her sister Rhonda Ross and Zendaya. Multi-talented producer, director, and actress Debbie Allen was presented the Legend Award by Shonda Rhimes and entertainment attorney Nina Shaw was presented the Power Award by ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey and Nick Cannon brought to you by Lincoln. The Grammy-award nominated R&B singer Leon Bridges, performed “River” followed by a stirring rendition of “Brown Skin Girl.”

Since its debut in 2008, ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon has honored some of the most cherished figures in the industry, includingOprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong’o, Ava DuVernay, Halle Berry, Viola Davis, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Angela Bassett, Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard, Regina King, Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, Jennifer Hudson, Zoe Saldana, Mary J. Blige, Gabourey Sidibe, Quvenzhané Wallis, Jurnee Smollett, RubyDee, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, Loretta Devine, Naomie Harris, Gabrielle Union, Mara BrockAkil, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ruth E. Carter, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Suzanne de Passe.


Essence Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca spoke of the significance 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.”

For more highlights and behind-the-scenes footage from the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon go to and follow Essence on Twitter @essenceonline #BlackWomenInHollywood. Join in the discussion at #BlackWomeninHollywood


About The Author

Serafima Fedorova was born in Moscow, Russia and raised in Miami, where she has studied writing for over five years. She has been a Young Arts alumni for poetry and fiction and received multiple writing awards. Her work has been published in Save the Earth Poetry Anthology, Dog Eat Crow, Best Young Writers 2014, and broadcasted on WLRN radio, as well as other online and print magazines.

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