The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and Essence are partnering once again to present the magazine’s ninth annual Black Women in Hollywood celebration as a primetime special on Feb. 27. The 2016 honorees — director/producer/actress Debbie Allen (Legend Award), Tracee Ellis Ross (Fierce & Fearless Award) and entertainment attorney Nina Shaw (Lincoln Power Award) — will be saluted during a luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Feb. 25.
Grammy Award-nominated artist Leon Bridges will perform before an audience that includes special guests Oprah Winfrey, producer/writer Shonda Rhimes, Nick Cannon, director Ryan Coogler and Zendaya. Essence will also reveal the winner of its third annual short film contest, which showcases the work of up-and-coming filmmakers.
This year’s luncheon theme, “Power of Our Presence,” not only embodies the reason why the event was launched in 2008, but also underscores the ongoing dialogue sparked by this year’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy, notes Essence Editor-In-Chief Vanessa De Luca. “It’s interesting that nine years later, we’re still having this conversation,” says De Luca. “And brings to light even more this year the very reason why we conceived this event. It’s just yet another reminder that Hollywood is not as diverse as we’d like it to be.”
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SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter – Gail Mitchell