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

  • Aykroyd voices doc series about Canada, calls country 'beacon in the world today'

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Dan Aykroyd is uber Canadian. The Oscar-nominated comedy star was born on Canada Day -- July 1, 1952 -- in Ottawa, no less. He was bilingual growing up, thanks to his French-Canadian mom. Source
  • Robert De Niro: U.S. is now a tragic comedy

    Entertainment CTV News
    PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Robert De Niro says that "in movie terms," the country was once "an inspiring uplifting drama" but now has turned into "a tragic dumbass comedy." The two-time, Oscar-winning actor spoke to Brown University graduates Sunday at the Ivy League school's commencement ceremonies. Source
  • We'll always have Van Nuys: Hangar from 'Casablanca' saved

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- The airport hangar facade from the opening scene of "Casablanca" has found a home a decade after being saved from the wrecking ball. The arched facade dating to the 1920s has been in a Los Angeles parking lot since it was removed during 2007 renovations at Van Nuys Airport. Source
  • Bruce Springsteen surprises audience at Van Zandt concert

    Entertainment CTV News
    In this Saturday, May 27, 2017 photo, Bruce Springsteen, right, performs at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, N.J., with rocker Steven Van Zandt, left, during the show's encore. (Amanda Stevens/Count Basie Theatre via AP) Source
  • Kim Kardashian doubts her mom will ever talk to Caitlyn Jenner again

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Kim Kardashian doubts her mother will ever be on proper speaking terms with her ex Caitlyn Jenner after the former couple fell out over the transgender star’s new memoir. Retired Olympian Caitlyn, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, caused a rift in her family with Kris Jenner following the April release of her autobiography The Secrets Of My Life. Source
  • Stranger than fiction: Where do House of Cards, Veep and other White House shows go in the Trump era?

    Entertainment CBC News
    For years, House of Cards has lured audiences in with its dark portrait of unscrupulous Washington schemers, while Veep's fanbase remains devoted to the outrageous White House satire. But what happens when the reality in Washington becomes as dramatic as fiction? Source
  • Jaden Smith: Hollywood heirs gone to hell

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Nutty narcissist Jaden Smith is the reigning poster boy for Hollywood heirs gone to hell. The uber entitled 18-year-old son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith has a long history of being seduced by his own genius. Source
  • Jaden Smith: Hollywood headcase hits Hogtown

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Nutty narcissist Jaden Smith is the reigning poster boy for Hollywood heirs gone to hell. The uber entitled 18-year-old son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith has a long history of being seduced by his own genius. Source
  • Kim Kardashian agreed to marry Kris Humphries because she began to 'freak out' over turning 30

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Kim Kardashian knew her marriage to basketball player Kris Humphries was doomed because she wed for all the wrong reasons. The reality TV star admits she began to “freak out” about being old and lonely after turning 30, so when the sportsman proposed in 2011, after a whirlwind romance, she said “yes”. Source
  • Jerry Seinfeld on Timbits, Netflix, returning to Just for Laughs in Montreal

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — The last time Jerry Seinfeld was at Montreal’s Just for Laughs festival was in 1989 and audiences were just getting introduced to his motley crew of TV characters and their droll observations about everyday life in New York. Source