*Cast members of Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” actress/director Regina King and “Beyond the Lights” leading lady Gugu Mbatha-Raw will be in good company as Essence magazine gears up for its yearly “Black Women in Hollywood” luncheon.
The eighth annual pre-Oscars event will take place Feb. 19 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. This year’s honorees were announced Wednesday via an online press conference hosted by Access Hollywood correspondent Shaun Robinson and Essence’s Editor-In-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca.
The Fierce & Fearless Award will go to King while Mbatha-Raw collects the Lincoln Breakthrough of the Year Award. Academy Award-nominated costume designer Ruth E. Carter will be honored with the Visionary Award.
The Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon recognizes the extraordinary achievements of trailblazing women in film and television. Past honorees include: Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong’o, Ava DuVernay, Halle Berry, Viola Davis, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Angela Bassett, Queen Latifah, Taraji P. Henson, Ruby Dee, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, Mara Brock-Akil, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Suzanne de Passe, among others.
Taking note of the accomplishments made in 2014, De Luca and Essence president Michelle Ebanks mentioned that current crop of Black Women in Hollywood award recipients are a worthy lot.
“The past year has been a game-changer for women in Hollywood. We are creating, performing and calling the shots,” De Luca stated in a press release. “By recognizing our leading ladies both in front of and behind the camera, Essence Black Women in Hollywood illuminates the ‘power of our presence.’”
“Essence embodies the diversity of our stories, and Black Women in Hollywood allows us to honor fresh and innovative storytelling, as well as groundbreaking portrayals,” added Ebanks. “This year we are proudly honoring seven brilliant actresses from the original hit series “Orange is the New Black”; a critically-acclaimed actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw; an accomplished performer and director with a career spanning three decades Regina King; and an inspirational creative talent Ruth E. Carter.”
News of the Black Women in Hollywood luncheon comes as Essence celebrates its 45th anniversary this year. According to the release, the event will commemorate the magazine’s annual Hollywood issue (March), which will hit newsstands on Feb. 13th.
In addition, fans can gain exclusive access to the Black Women in Hollywood luncheon by visiting Essence.com. The site, which will feature highlights and behind the scenes access, will also live stream red-carpet happenings and interviews with the stars at 11:00 a.m. PST/2:00 p.m. EST and re-air at 6 p.m. PST/9 p.m. EST.