From Janelle Monáe to our very own Loni Love, your favorite stars came out to attend Essence’s 13th annual Black Women in Hollywood award ceremony and luncheon.
Held at the Beverly Wilshire hotel on Thursday, the event — emceed by Eve — honored “Claws” actress Niecy Nash, “Queen & Slim” director Melina Matsoukas, and the cast of FX’s “Pose,” including co-executive producer-director-writer Janet Mock.
During her opening remarks, Essence Chief Executive Michelle Ebanks highlighted the important of black representation in the media.
“We can’t count on other people to recognize us, but we can recognize each other,” Ebanks declared.
Following an introduction from Billy Porter, who plays Pray Tell on “Pose,” Mock spoke about the struggles that black transgender women face on a daily basis.
“Too often, black trans women and black queer and gender-nonconforming folk put their bodies on the line every day to be themselves,” the activist told the audience. “Grappling with housing and joblessness and a lack of access to health care and education. Navigating our own people’s intolerance and willful ignorance, pushing our sisters out of homes, intolerant schools, and churches and into detention facilities, foster homes, prisons, and deeper into poverty.”
She continued, “And these alarming issues remain widely unaddressed because we as a culture do not acknowledge that trans women are women, that black bodies are valuable and that black trans girls and black trans women are worthy of our protection and care.”
In order to protect this vulnerable group, Janet says the greater black community must fervently defend LGBTQ rights.
“The struggle for black people must include black trans and queer people, period,” she exclaimed. “And this award reaffirms that our stories, our lives, our experiences matter and reassures that the way that we tell it from the perspective and talents of those who’ve lived it, is most impactful.”
See pics from the celebration (below):
Jennifer Lewis and Tia Mowry-Hardrict, twin sister of our very own Tamera Mowry-Housley!