Mary J. Blige
The Third Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon
2010 Event Paid Tribute To 40th Anniversary Of Essence Magazine
This week ESSENCE magazine honored Cicely Tyson (Legend Award), Queen Latifah (Power Award), Zoe Saldana (Star to Watch Award), Mary J. Blige (Songstress of the Year) and Gabourey Sidibe (Best Breakthrough Performance) for making a significant impact in Hollywood at the star-studded ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon sponsored by Lincoln, at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The intimate event also commemorated the 40th Anniversary of ESSENCE magazine as well as the ESSENCE magazine’s annual Hollywood issue.
The ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon is an annual event to honor African-American women, who through their work in Hollywood-both in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes-have helped to change and inspire positive images of Black women in television and film.
While celebrities such as Paula Patton, Vivica Fox, Joy Bryant, Leila Ali and Serena Williams walked the red carpet, the crowd of 300 VIP guests enjoyed a champagne reception in the plush ballroom. The event, styled with a nod to old Hollywood dÅ½cor, borrowed heavily upon Truman Capote’s legendary black & white ball with special ruby accents and Swarovski crystals to commemorate the 40th Anniversary. Grammy Award winning rapper Common opened the program with spoken word tribute to black women while the duo Mary Mary performed “Can’t Give Up” as a special tribute to Songstress of the Year Award recipient Mary J. Blige.
“Our annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon is always such a touching and glamorous event,” said ESSENCE editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray. “But behind that glamour lies very inspiring and hard working women, such as our Legend Award recipient Cicely Tyson, a true trailblazer known for her portrayal of strong positive roles for African-American actresses. Seeing these incredible women share their stories is such an emotional experience. We are proud to carry the ESSENCE legacy into the future by honoring the accomplishments of such brilliant performers whose incredible talent are serving to change the face of Hollywood and inspire women everywhere.”
Cicely Tyson, a Harlem born star of television, film and stage, was presented the Legend Award by Viola Davis and Laurence Fishburne. After receiving a standing ovation, Ms. Tyson thanked Essence Magazine and in lieu of an acceptance speech, shared prose honoring all in the room.
Queen Latifah was presented the Power Award by Jada Pinkett Smith; Zoe Saldana was presented theStar to Watch Award by Oscar winning Avatar director James Cameron; Mary J. Blige, widely recognized one of the greatest singers of our time, was presented the Songstress of the Year Award by actress Taraji Henson. Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe was presented the Best Breakthrough Performance Award by Precious director Lee Daniels.
In a final touching moment, Essence Black Women in Hollywood also took a moment to honor ESSENCE Magazine editor Mikki Taylor who celebrated her 30th Anniversary with ESSENCE. As the Beauty and Cover Director for ESSENCE, she has been an advocate for the unique beauty needs of black women and is one of the most trusted beauty experts in the world.
The inaugural event, which took place in 2008, honored Jada Pinkett-Smith (Power Award), Ruby Dee (Legend Award), Suzanne de Passe (Visionary Award) and Jurnee Smollett (Star to Watch Award), and hosted A-List stars including Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Kerry Washington, Star Jones and more. In 2009, celebrities such as Terrence Howard, Samuel L. Jackson, and Queen Latifah, to name a few, were on hand to fete honorees including Halle Berry (Power Award), Diahann Carroll (Legend Award), Gina Prince-Bythewood (Visionary Award), and Taraji P. Henson (Star to Watch Award), with a posthumous honor given to Eartha Kitt.
Sponsors for the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon include presenting sponsor Lincoln, as well as partner sponsors COVERGIRL Queen Collection, MasterCard Worldwide and is supported by Moet & Chandon.
For up to date exclusive photos and minute-to-minute coverage from Black Women in Hollywood please visit Essence Magazine: essence.com/entertainment
Follow the live updates from the parties, after parties and behind-the-scenes of the event on twitter: Twitter.com/essenceonline
About Essence Communications Inc.:
Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media and communications company dedicated to African-American women. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events, and online, the Essence brand is “Where Black Women Come First”. The company’s flagship publication, ESSENCE magazine, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; generating brand extensions such as the Essence Music Festival, Women Who Are Shaping the World Leadership Summit, Window on Our Women (WOW I & II) and Smart Beauty I, II & III consumer insights, the Essence Book Club, Essence.com, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For 39 years, ESSENCE magazine, which has a brand reach of over 8 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information relating to every area of African-American women’s lives. Additional information about ECI and ESSENCE is available at essence.com.