Niecy Nash, ‘Pose’ Team & More Honored At 2020 Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock (10550121d) Niecy Nash waves to photographers at the 13th Annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards Luncheon, in Beverly Hills, Calif 13th Annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards Luncheon, Beverly Hills, USA - 06 Feb 2020

Claws star Niecy Nash served up some truth while accepting the Ford Vanguard Award at Essence’s 13th annual Black Women in Hollywood Awards luncheon.

“My hope is to be of service in the world. So today I want to serve you with my truth,” said Nash, encouraging the crowd at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel to “think differently.”

“I can encourage you to walk in your truth, to heal your trauma, and live your best damn life, said Nash before offering up some tips on how to achieve this goal.

“One, acknowledge how you feel. Two, you got to know that your feelings are not facts, but rather fact lies in why you feel the thing in the first place. You got to be transparent. Trust that it is so much easier to walk in your truth than it is to run towards the lie.”

Nash was honored today alongside Queen & Slim director Melina Matsoukas, Lashana Lynch, who will soon be seen starring in the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, and the cast and creatives of Pose including Janet Mock, Mj Rodriguez, Angelica Ross, Hailie Sahar as well as Indya Moore and Dominique Jackson, both of whom were not able to attend today’s confab.

“Too often black trans women and black queer and gender-nonconforming folks put their bodies on the line every day by being themselves,” said Mock. “Grappling with housing, joblessness, and the lack of access to healthcare and education, navigating our own tools and tolerance and willful ignorance, pushing our sisters out of hostile homes and intolerant schools and churches and into detention facilities and foster homes and prisons and deeper into poverty.”

She continued, “Our struggle for black people must include black trans and queer people, period. 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 that those who’ve lived it is most impactful.”

During her time onstage, Matsoukas talked about how she is reclaiming her own “joy.”

“As an artist, my mission has always been to create change in the world, to give voice to the unheard, to represent us, to challenge ideas, visuals and thoughts while also be entertaining and painting with a much more colorful brush than this industry is used to,” she said. “It’s a battle I’m dedicated to. It’s a battle. I’m not a moment. I realize what brings me joy is not just that fight, because boy do I love disrupting their shit, but the comradery I have in that battle.”

Lynch told the crowd that “nobody in this room derived from luck. We are a powerful force field that derived from greatness. We all know the ingredients that are needed for black women to create what she truly wants. But the struggle to not compromise for the sake of others is something we all in this room know all too well. We work hard on our craft and on our self-love and have to remind ourselves daily that we deserve a seat at the table… we are the table.”

She later added, “The true essence of humanity lies in the sacrifice of black women.”

Recording artist, actress, and host of CBS’ The Talk, Eve, hosted the event which celebrates Hollywood’s most renowned and accomplished women at the forefront of the industry. In a nod to the brand’s 50th anniversary, the theme this year was a celebration of women owning, expanding and transforming the art of storytelling.

Attendees included Ava DuVernay, Billy Porter, Gabrielle Union, Janelle Monáe, Issa Rae, Alfre Woodward, and Kerry Washington, who paid tribute to the late Hollywood icon Diahann Carroll.

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