Amidst Oscar snubs, diversity in Hollywood shake-ups, and the #OscarsSoWhite social media conundrum, Essence has moved forward with business as usual announcing its 2016 Black Women in Hollywood Award Honorees.
The 9th annual luncheon will take place on February 25, and is set to honor powerhouse actress extraordinaire Tracee Ellis Ross (Fierce and Fearless Award); multi-faceted producer, actress, and director Debbie Allen (Legend Award); and entertainment lawyer Nina Shaw (Lincoln Power Award) as the 2016 Black Women in Hollywood Award honorees.
“We are delighted to continue the tradition of honoring exceptionally talented women who are making significant contributions as creators and performers in Hollywood,” noted ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa De Luca. “At a time when the conversation about diversity in Hollywood remains prevalent, recognizing the indomitable power and presence of Tracee Ellis Ross, Debbie Allen and Nina Shaw at our annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon embraces an inclusive and diverse Hollywood community.”
As a highlight of Oscar week, Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood Awards Luncheon has hosted a wealth of Hollywood’s most treasured celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Emma Stone, Will Smith, and more. Since its inception in 2008, past honorees have included Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong’o, Viola Davis, Halle Berry, Cicely Tyson, Loretta Divine, and many other deserving awardees.
As Essence is known to always go all in, the celebratory affair will usher in appearances by Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rhimes, Nick Cannon, Ryan Coogler, Zendaya, and others who are soon to be announced. DFW’s own GRAMMY award nominated musician Leon Bridges is slated to perform, as Essence fans are encouraged to catch all of the action live from the red carpet and beyond on Essence.com on February 25 beginning at 3:15PM ET. The televised awards presentation will air on the OWN Network on February 27 at 10 p.m. ET.