The Most Powerful Speeches From ESSENCE's 2020 Black Women In Hollywood Awards

Actress Niecy Nash, host and rapper Eve, and director Melina Matsoukas in a triptych photo

The Most Powerful Speeches From ESSENCE's 2020 Black Women In Hollywood Awards

Powerful words and invaluable lessons from Niecy Nash, Janet Mock, Melina Matsoukas and more.

Published February 7th

Written by Soraya Joseph

Recently ESSENCE hosted its 13th annual Black Women in Hollywood Awards luncheon, which always brings out some of the industry's most accomplished sisters.

Hosted by rapper, actress and The Talk show host Eve, the event, which took place Thursday, February 6 at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, gathered the likes of Niecy Nash, Issa Rae, Alfre Woodward, Garcelle Beauvais, Ava DuVernay, Gabrielle Union, Billy Porter, Janet Mock, Janelle Monáe, Kerry Washington and more. 

After Nash accepted the Ford Vanguard Award, the Claws actress offered up a few words of encouragement during her powerful speech.

“I can encourage you to walk in your truth, to heal your trauma, and live your best damn life," Nash said before offering tips on success in both life, and career.

“One, acknowledge how you feel. Two, you got to know that your feelings are not facts, but rather fact lies in why you feel the thing in the first place. You got to be transparent. Trust that it is so much easier to walk in your truth than it is to run towards the lie.”

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 06:  Niecy Nash attends the 13th Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 06, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Niecy Nash
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 06:  Kerry Washington attends the 13th Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 06, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Kerry Washington
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 06:  Janet Mock attends the 13th Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 06, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Janet Mock

Author Janet Mock also spoke to trans and queer rights, specifically as it pertains to people of color.

“Too often Black trans women and Black queer and gender-nonconforming folks put their bodies on the line every day by being themselves," the activist/director stated.

Mock continued, “Our struggle for Black people must include Black trans and queer people, period. This award reaffirms that our stories, our lives, our experiences matter and reassures that the way that we tell it from the perspective and talents that those who’ve lived it is most impactful.”

Famed director, Melina Matsoukas, spoke on her role and responsibility as an artist, saying for her it’s about using her art to create a sustainable difference.

“As an artist, my mission has always been to create change in the world, to give voice to the unheard, to represent us, to challenge ideas, visuals and thoughts while also be entertaining and painting with a much more colorful brush than this industry is used to,” said Matsoukas.  “It’s a battle I’m dedicated to.”

Check out more photos of the event, below:

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 06:  Melina Matsoukas attends the 13th Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 06, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Melina Matsoukas
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 06:  Novi Brown attends the 13th Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 06, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Novi Brown
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 06:  Gabrielle Union attends the 13th Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 06, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Gabrielle Union
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 06:  Issa Rae attends the 13th Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 06, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Issa Rae
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 06:  Janelle Monáe attends the 13th Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 06, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Janelle Monae
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 06:  Garcelle Beauvais attends the 13th Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 06, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Garcelle Beauvais
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 06:  Eve attends the 13th Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 06, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Eve

Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

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