Essence has announced the honorees for its prestigious “Black Women in Hollywood Awards.” The highly anticipated annual Oscar-week celebration will be held on Thursday, March 1st, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, CA.

The inaugural event highlights Hollywood’s most innovative and accomplished visionaries, and this year four game-changers who are taking the culture higher will be honored.  The honorees include: Emmy-award winning writer/actress Lena Waithe; actress/award-winning playwright Danai Gurira; actress/activist Tessa Thompson and comedian/award-winning actress Tiffany Haddish.

“As the modern feminist movement continues to gain prominence during Awards season, women are emboldened to not only speak up, but to stand together,” said ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa De Luca. “ESSENCE proudly salutes Lena, Danai, Tessa and Tiffany for being remarkable artists shining beyond the screen, and raising their voices to benefit all women.”

ESSENCE’s March 2018 Black Women in Hollywood issue (on newsstands February 23rd) showcases each honoree in a captivating Oscars-themed package. Highlights include:

Tiffany Haddish on Having Fun While Performing: “’When you’re onstage, you need to be having fun.’ That’s the advice Richard Pryor gave me. No matter what I’m doing or where I am, I live by that philosophy…If I’m not having fun? Well, that’s when I end up getting arrested…”

Danai Gurira on Creating Opportunities for Women of Color: “Creating opportunities for Black women, women of African descent and other women of color is a big part of my mandate because I want us to shine. I understand that being on TV as Michonne and in films like ‘Black Panther’ help Black girls feel validated. I don’t take that lightly…”

Lena Waithe on Winning an Emmy and Telling Our Stories: “Being the first Black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing was just amazing, but I don’t want to be the last. It’s about our industry, our society, taking a big leap forward. It’s about my ancestors, the women comedy writers and queer communities of color. I shared that moment with them…”

Tessa Thompson on Breaking New Ground With Her Roles: “I feel as if I’m breaking new ground and providing more representation for women of color around the globe. But even if it wasn’t me, I’d still look at those projects and if I saw a woman who looked like me, I’d think, Wow!”

The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon is a chance for the entertainment industry to pay homage to the biggest and brightest African-American women who are who are pushing boundaries, breaking through barriers, and making history in film and television. Be sure to tune in to Essence via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for highlights and behind the scenes access to the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards!

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Founder, HBR Media

K. Nicole Mills is the Founder of HBR Media. She transitioned from Wall Street to television and film development, and has worked at NBCUniversal, Universal Pictures, and Showtime Networks. She currently develops digital programming for premium networks. Reach out anytime! info@hbrmedia.org

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