Chris Rock, Shonda Rhimes join Essence to celebrate black women in Hollywood

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Oscar host Chris Rock, producer Reginald Hudlin and film academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs took an afternoon off from Academy Awards preparations to celebrate black women in Hollywood.

See Full Article

Rock, Hudlin and Boone Isaacs were among the guests at Essence magazine's ninth annual awards luncheon Thursday at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Rock and Boone Isaacs didn't speak publicly; Hudlin took the stage to present an award to legendary entertainer Debbie Allen.

The annual Essence event celebrates the achievements of black women in entertainment. Actress Tracee Ellis Ross, entertainment attorney Nina Shaw and filmmaker Thais Francis were also recognized.

Francis thanked the magazine "for creating a platform of visibility."

"A lot of us in this audience know the importance of visibility, especially during a time, in a society, in a world, in an industry that's telling us that we're invisible," she said.

Shonda Rhimes, who introduced Allen as the new producing director of "Grey's Anatomy," called the writer-director-choreographer-performer "a force of nature."

"Debbie blows through an environment and changes the landscape forever," Rhimes said.

As Allen accepted the Legend Award, she said she felt like she was in church, preaching to her sisters.

"The only plate I'm going to pass is the plate of purpose," she said, urging the women in the audience to make real connections with each other - not just to meet up for drinks, but to work on ways of changing the world.

Shaw gave similar advice as she accepted the Power Award. The attorney for such entertainers as Laurence Fishburne, Lupita Nyong'o and Ava DuVernay was introduced by Nick Cannon and Channing Dungey, who became the first African-American to head a broadcast network when she was named president of ABC Entertainment last week.

"If you are a woman who wants to be empowered, then empower other women," Shaw said.

"Black-ish" star Ross, accompanied by her father and older sister, Rhonda, accepted the Fierce and Fearless award. Ross said she had been sick for the past week and worried she wouldn't be able to attend the luncheon.

"I got dressed in the car," she said. "I'm unclear if what I'm wearing is see-through. If it is, I'm sorry."

She said the recognition from Essence "is truly one of the proudest moments I've experienced."

Oprah Winfrey opened the program, which will air Saturday on OWN.

In a year when Hollywood's lack of inclusion has overwhelmed the Oscar race, Winfrey said, "it's a beautiful thing that we have the good sense to do this for ourselves."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Ken Burns, Trent Reznor teaming up for documentary on Vietnam War

    Entertainment CTV News
    PASADENA, Calif. -- Ken Burns and Trent Reznor would seem two unlikely collaborators, but both describe their recent work on the upcoming PBS documentary on the Vietnam War as among the most satisfying of their careers. Source
  • 'Meryl Streep complimented my mom at the Oscars': Ryan Gosling

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Ryan Gosling enlisted the help of Meryl Streep to make his mother feel better about her looks at the Oscars. The La La Land star recalled the sweet story on The Graham Norton Show, explaining he had taken his mother Donna and sister Mandi as his dates to the 2007 awards ceremony. Source
  • Miley Cyrus hands out marijuana party bags at birthday bash

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Miley Cyrus had a high old time at boyfriend Liam Hemsworth’s birthday bash on Friday, handing out Snoop Dogg’s brand of marijuana in party bags. The Australian actor celebrated his 27th birthday in Los Angeles with a crazy rap-themed party, organized by his 24-year-old girlfriend. Source
  • 'Inexperienced' thugs robbed Kim Kardashian according to leaked police statement

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    The thugs who bound and gagged Kim Kardashian in her Paris apartment during an October raid seemed “inexperienced”, according to the reality TV star. Masked robbers held the terrified star at gunpoint at the No Name Hotel and swiped with valuables worth more than $10 million. Source
  • Five most memorable presidential inauguration performances

    Entertainment CBC News
    In the days leading up to president-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, there seems to be more talk of artists refusing to perform rather than accepting what has traditionally been an honour. Country singer Toby Keith is scheduled to perform at an event Thursday. Source
  • Documentary puts spotlight on PTSD

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Anyone can get post-traumatic stress disorder. Anyone. The fate of soldiers with PTSD occupies the headlines — as with Lionel Desmond’s case in Nova Scotia, or Fort Lauderdale airport shooting suspect Esteban Santiago — leading many to believe that the disorder is specific to the armed forces. Source
  • PETA hails demise of Ringling Bros. circus

    Entertainment CTV News
    PETA is calling the demise of the Ringling Bros. circus a death knell for other exotic animal acts, as public opinion and the march of time puts those old forms of entertainment out to pasture. Source
  • Bob Barker, PETA pleased by demise of Ringling Bros. circus

    Entertainment CTV News
    Gameshow host turned animal rights activist Bob Barker is among those celebrating the announcement that Ringling Bros. circus will close, although he says much more needs to be done for animals. “Most people do not want animals to suffer,” Barker told CTV News Channel on Sunday. Source
  • 'Hidden Figures' keeps orbit at top; Affleck, Scorsese flop

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The crowd-pleasing NASA drama "Hidden Figures" has topped the box office for the second straight week, while a pair of high-priced prestige releases sputtered. Estimates on Sunday say "Hidden Figures," a tale about African-American mathematicians in the 1960s space race, sold $20.5 million in tickets in North American theatres over the Martin Luther King Jr. Source
  • Prince Charles co-authors a book on climate change

    Entertainment CTV News
    LONDON -- Penguin Books says Prince Charles has co-authored a book on climate change together with an environmentalist and a Cambridge scientist. The Prince of Wales, long a critic of man-made climate change, wrote the book "Climate Change" with Tony Juniper, a former Friends of the Earth director, and Emily Shuckburgh, a Cambridge University climate scientist. Source