Written by Jessica L. Dupree & Craig Dewey Stanley
Black excellence was front and center Thursday at the Essence 15th annual Black Women in Hollywood Awards luncheon and golden-carpet ceremony in Beverly Hills. The awards recognize and celebrate the entertainment industry’s most inspiring and influential Black women who are driving diverse, dynamic black stories in content and media. This year, honorees included Oscar-nominated actress Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard), actress/producer/director Nia Long (You People), actress/creator Quinta Brunson (Abbott Elementary), and actress Chante Adams (A Journal For Jordan).
Stars on hand for the celebration included Serena Williams, Storm Reid, Lena Waithe, Karrueche Tran, Teyanna Taylor, Niecy Nash, Amber Riley, and Kandi Burruss. During the luncheon, Damon Idris, Larenz Tate, and Donald Glover all took part in the event’s presentation, and Will Smith electrified the audience with a special surprise appearance, celebrating his King Richard co-star Aunjanue Ellis’ Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress
Heart & Soul Magazine was there on the golden carpet to catch up with a few of Black Hollywood’s leading luminaries to talk about, love, strength, and perseverance,
Actress Meagan Good shared her excitement to be on hand for the magical event. “I’m here today looking forward to celebrating, supporting, loving on, and affirming all women,” Good said, “every woman that I see at every single corner as I walk through here. And I like to see Nia get her flowers.”
Good, who stars in Amazon’s Harlem which was just renewed for a second season, also dished on the joy she is experiencing working on the show. “I’m really having fun on this show and I really love everybody that I work with,” Good said, “It hasn’t been super challenging – it’s actually been very fulfilling and something I’m just grateful to do,” she said.
Actress, television host, and reality star Garcelle Beauvais, who is currently on The Real as well as The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, spoke to Heart & Soul about the longevity of her own journey, and how being a black woman has provided her with exactly what she needed to push through since working on The Jamie Foxx show in the late 90s.
“My journey in Hollywood has been amazing,” Beauvais said. “One of the things of being a black woman– I think it’s our strength and for me also being able to persevere. I think that’s what I’ve been able to do here – is persevere. There have been ups and there have been downs but I’m still here.”
Beauvais also offered advice to women across the world who may be inspired by her journey.
“To the everyday working women, my message for you is to keep pushing, keep pushing,” she said. “It’s not always going to be ‘yes’ but you have to push through the ‘nos.’ That’s all you can do is get up every day and start over again.”
Also on hand was everyone’s favorite vegan chef, Tabitha Brown who is working on her kids YouTube series Tab Time which helps young people understand kindness and compassion and the importance of celebrating one another. Brown, who has fans of all ages and generations, shared about what it’s like to have influence on such a breadth of people of different ages and backgrounds.
“It feels amazing being here,” Brown said. “I feel like it’s a responsibility right, to love everybody and make sure we see everybody.”
When asked about her unparalleled class and grace under fire, she recognized that “Most time when people are mean it’s because they’re hurt.”
“It really goes back to old school” Brown said. “We treat people how we want to be treated. And I want to treat people with love and grace and I want them to treat me the same.”