Inside the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon


The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon is an annual event and celebration of influential entertainment figures that isn’t committed to film. And with good reason, too. At this event, celebrities of film and television are free to let down their hair and express themselves freely. For all the famous faces in the room, there is remarkably little ego, and tremendous mutual admiration between honorees and attendees. This is an annual event where everyone is supportive and genuinely happy to be there. There’s a lot of love in the room and sometimes a lot of emotion on stage.

I attended this year’s Essence Black Women in Hollywood thanks to Target, and guests were gifted amazing already sold out items from the Prabal Gurung collection, including the Nolita tote. Honorees included adorable 9 year old Academy Award nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, the unexpectedly sassy and sagacious Alfre Woodard, gorgeous Bond girl Naomie Harris and writer/producer Maya Brock Akil, who had a teary reunion with the cast of her celebrated sitcom Girlfriends on stage. The

highlight of the afternoon was Gabrielle Union’s speech upon receiving the Fierce and Fearless award. She spoke very candidly on competition and schadenfreude, the struggle to find self-acceptance and success in Hollywood, and coming to terms with her identity. Oprah’s award was presented to her by the graduating class of her South African Leadership Academy, who shared the ways in which “Mom Oprah” changed their lives and gave them a brighter future.

The Essence Black Women in Hollywood event is about sisterhood and celebrating talent, but it’s alsoall about fashion and attendees like Kelly Rowland, Naomi Campbell, Tracee Ellis Ross and Jennifer Hudson did not disappoint, but our fashion favorite was Lauren London’s fierce red Stella McCartney smoking suit. Sexy, strong, and powerful.

For more on the Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, visit Afrobella and Essence.

Contributing Editor, Patrice Grell Yursik is the creator of, one of the first blogs to celebrate the beauty of natural hair and ladies of all skin tones and sizes. Affectionately called the Godmother of Brown Beauty Blogging, Patrice takes her readers inside unique beauty, fashion and cultural experiences.