*Black girls rock!

Wrong event, but the 5th annual ESSENCE Honors Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, presented by Lincoln, unequivocally expressed that sentiment earlier this week at the Beverly Hills hotel in Beverly Hills.

2012 Best Supporting Actress Oscar contender, Octavia Spencer, joined four other accomplished black women in Hollywood as honorees for this year’s annual event. Spencer was joined by actresses Paula Patton, Pam Grier and Kerry Washington, along with television and film writer, Shonda Rhimes in receiving their prestigious statuettes for their extraordinary accomplishments in the Hollywood as women of color.

“We are thrilled to once again be the official luxury vehicle partner of what we consider to be one of the hottest events leading up to the 84th Annual Academy Awards and we are just as excited to be able to continue our relationship with Essence in honoring phenomenal African American women both on-screen and behind-the-scenes,” says Shawn Lollie, Multicultural Marketing Manager for Ford Motor Company.

As the women accepted their awards, they each delivered moving acceptance speeches, evoking tears from the room full of their peers and supporters.

“It’s because of you,” said groundbreaking actress Grier as she conveyed stories of her pioneering roles during the blaxploitation era of Hollywood.  “I used to have to do my own stunts, because there were no black stunt doubles at that time … and I have continued to work because of you.”  Grier’s career spans over 40 years and her fellow honorees acknowledged having stood on her back to arrive where they have in a tough industry.  There weren’t many dry eyes in the room as the ladies tearfully told their respective stories of triumph and gratitude.

Each recipient was visibly shaken by the support and respect emanating from their peers.  Now deceased Whitney Houston was also honored by a heartfelt performance of “Listen to Your Heart,” by Houston’s Sparkle co-star, Jordin Sparks.  As her music was played throughout the production, Houston’s presence was felt in the room.

Below, check out photos from the event. (Click on each picture for larger size and description.)