Essence magazine is gearing up for its 17th Annual Black Women in Hollywood Awards, set to honor Danielle Brooks, Halle Bailey, Nkechi Okoro Carroll, and Kathryn Busby of Starz. The event, scheduled for March 7 at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, will be hosted by Cliff “Method Man” Smith.
Themed “Radiant Power” for 2024, the event aims to spotlight the strength, grace, and influence of Black women navigating the entertainment business. This focus is especially significant considering the challenges posed by the historic writers’ and actors’ strikes of 2023.
The accolades bestowed upon these exceptional women come amidst a wave of recognition for their outstanding contributions to film and television. Danielle Brooks earned her first Academy Award nominations for her captivating performance as Sofia in the musical reimagining of “The Color Purple.” Halle Bailey, known for her role in ‘The Little Mermaid,’ and ‘The Color Purple’ received her first solo Grammy nomination. Nkechi Okoro Carroll, the showrunner of NBC’s “Found,” adds to her list of achievements with another hit show under her belt. Kathryn Busby, as the president of original programming at Starz, has played a pivotal role in expanding the network’s successful “Power” franchise and green-lighting the upcoming “Outlander” prequel, “Blood of My Blood.”
The awards ceremony, produced by Essence Studios and Red Summer TV, will be broadcast on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network and will also stream on Max/Discovery+. This one-hour primetime special promises to provide viewers with an inside look at the intimate pre-Oscar celebration, showcasing red carpet arrivals, exclusive interviews, and highlights from the awards presentation.
Essence Ventures president and CEO, Caroline Wanga, emphasized the importance of recognizing the intersection of joy and justice within the industry. She acknowledged the hurdles faced by the entertainment industry in terms of economic inclusion and stressed the ongoing commitment to create sustainable change. Wanga expressed Essence’s dedication to celebrating Black women like Brooks, Bailey, Carroll, and Busby, who serve as lifelines of optimism and hope through their craft.
In addition to the awards ceremony, Essence magazine will host its 5th annual Essence Hollywood House on Friday, March 8. Themed “Scripting Reel Change,” the event will provide a platform for aspiring filmmakers, actors, and TV & film enthusiasts through fireside chats, panel discussions, speed mentoring sessions, and more. The in-person program will take place at 3322 La Cienega Place in Los Angeles, with virtual attendees able to stream the proceedings on Essence.com, X (formerly known as Twitter), Facebook, and YouTube.
Both the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards and Hollywood House are produced by Essence Communications, Inc. and proudly sponsored by Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Smartwater.