On February 27, Essence & Lincoln Motor Company did what it does best—honor black women. The evening at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA, marked the brand’s 10th annual celebration of the next generation of black actresses, the Black Women in Hollywood Awards. Historically, the event has been a luncheon, but this year it was a swanky evening gala hosted by Gabrielle Union and sponsored by Lincoln. And our favorite black actresses and their male colleagues, co-stars, and loved ones donned their fanciest evening wear to toast #BlackGirlMagic.
Kenya Freeman, lead designer for Sylvia Mollie, created custom dresses inspired by Lincoln Black Label for Lincoln Art of Arrival contest winner Adeola Bakre and Lincoln Blogger Bar host and author Demetria Lucas D’Oyley. The designs pulled inspiration from Black Label themes Rhapsody in Blue (Bakre) and Center Stage (D’Oyley).
“This year’s honorees embodied class and elegance similar to our flagship vehicle, the all-new Lincoln Continental,” said Raj Register, multicultural communications manager, Lincoln.
The honorees were: Issa Rae (Awkward Black Girl, Insecure) for the Vanguard Award, music artist Janelle Monae (Moonlight, Hidden Figures) for the Breakthrough Award, Aja Naomi King (How to Get Away With Murder, Birth of a Nation) for the Shining Star Award, and Yara Shahidi (Black-ish) for the Generation Next Award.
The evening was full of heartfelt speeches from award givers and recipients alike about overcoming fear and doubt in life as well as career, taking responsibility for something bigger than themselves, and recognizing—and not apologizing for—their greatness.
Here’s a look at some of the talented and accomplished black women at the event, including our EIC, Aniesia Williams.