Essence Magazine has announced this year’s Black Women in Hollywood honorees. Each year, Essence shines the spotlight on actresses who have made their mark with a luncheon held just before the Academy Awards.
Kerry Washington will be recognized with the Vanguard Award for her career and upcoming works. Not only will she star in the drama Scandal, which premieres in April on ABC, but she’ll also be in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained alongside Jamie Foxx.
This is becoming a magical year for The Help’s Octavia Spencer. The actress has won a Golden Globe and SAG award, is nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and will be presented with Essence’s award for Breakout Performance.
Paula Patton of Mission Impossible will receive the Shining Star Award while the Legend Award will go to Foxy Brown’s Pam Grier.
Essence will also recognize executive producer and screenwriter Shonda Rhimes with the Visionary Award for her success with Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice as well as ABC’s recent order of a pilot for her new drama series Gilded Lilies. In addition, the network purchased a fourth Rhimes creation titled The Circle last fall.
“Black women actors, writers, directors and producers still lack diverse opportunities in Hollywood and, unfortunately, are often overlooked during awards season,” commented ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Constance White. “The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon exists to provide a fitting tribute to the brilliant talent and accomplishments of African-American trailblazers like Kerry, Pam, Paula, Octavia and Shonda and celebrate their collective work as an inspiration for generations to come.”
The 5th annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon will be held February 23 at the Beverly Hills Hotel and will be streaming live on Essence.com.