The Annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon  is one of the most high profile and exclusive events in Hollywood that takes place every year during the week of the Oscars.  This year, the ceremony will be hosted by LaLa Anthony, and awards will be presented to Debbie Allen (Legend Award), Tracee Ellis Ross (Fierce & Fearless Award) and entertainment attorney Nina Shaw (Lincoln Power Award) during the luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, California.  Grammy Award-nominated artist Leon Bridges will perform, and powerful members of Hollywood’s most elite, such as Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rhimes, Ryan Coogler, Ava DuVernay, Chris Rock and more, will be in attendance.

“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.”   – Vanessa De Luca, Editor in Chief

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.  This prestigious ceremony gives the women who often get overlooked by mainstream awards, the opportunity to receive the honor that they deserve.  Essence has been committed to promoting and championing black women in Hollywood for over a decade, and this awards ceremony acknowledges and honors the amazing black women who work tirelessly in front of and behind the camera in an industry where they receive very little recognition for their work.

In addition to the luncheon, Essence is also providing opportunities to up-and-coming filmmakers with its short film contest with its 3rd annual short film contest. The theme for this year’s contest is ‘the modern black family.’

Over the years The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon has 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, Alfre Woodard, Regina King, Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, Jennifer Hudson, Zoe Saldana, Mary J. Blige, Gabourey Sidibe, Quvenzhané Wallis, Jurnee Smollett, Ruby Dee, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, Loretta Devine, Naomie Harris, Gabrielle Union, Mara Brock Akil, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ruth E. Carter, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Suzanne de Passe.

To continue to inspire black women across the nation, Essence.com is giving fans exclusive access to the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon by live streaming all the red-carpet action, including interviews with the stars, starting at 11:45am PT/2:45 pm ET, and will be televised as anEssence and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network special, airing on Saturday, February 27 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN.

“We feel that it’s important that other people get to see how we’re making contributions, not just in front of the camera, but behind it as well.  If you see someone else [who looks like you] doing it, then you know that’s something you can do too.” – Cori Murray, Essence Entertainment Editor

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About The Author

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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