Essence has announced its 2023 Black Women in Hollywood Awards recipients.
The 16th annual ceremony will honor director Gina Prince-Bythewood (“The Woman King”) and executive director Tara Duncan, as well as actors Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”), Dominique Thorne (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) and Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Abbott Elementary”), according to a press release Tuesday.
Essence CEO Caroline Wanga said the awards “commemorate the Black women who are storytellers, storytellers, storytellers, storytellers who nurture the entertainment ecosystem that the world deeply values and loves.”
“We are privileged to have this sacred platform that shines a light on the ongoing achievements of black women,” Wanga said of the event, which will be held March 9 at Los Angeles’ Fairmont Century Plaza.
Ralph won an Emmy in September for her role on ABC’s “Abbott Elementary,” when she belted out an impressive song during her acceptance speech. Remarkably, she became only the second black woman in history to win Outstanding Supporting Actress in a comedy series.
The Broadway icon also appeared at the Super Bowl this month to perform a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” written by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson in 1900 and often referred to as the black national anthem.
Deadwyler is recognized for her role in “Till,” a heartbreaking drama about the 1955 lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till and his mother’s quest for justice. The film was left out of this year’s Oscar nominations, prompting Deadwyler to condemn the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the snub.
Thorne had previously stunned critics with performances on “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “Judas and the Black Messiah.” She has since become a role model for young black girls with her role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and will soon star in the Marvel series Ironheart.
Arguably the most famous of the award winners, Prince-Bythewood began her career as a television writer in the 1990s before directing major Hollywood films such as Love & Basketball and last year’s Viola Davis-directed blockbuster The Woman King led .
Duncan, who runs Disney’s Onyx Collective, is honored as a “pioneer of broadcast and streaming content” following the brand’s Summer of Soul documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. (Unfortunately, although director Questlove won an Oscar for the film, that triumph was overshadowed.)
Essence described its event as “an oasis of sisterhood and a safe space for Black women to fully see, hear and embrace one another.” The 2023 ceremony is set to honor black creators, who have notably been excluded from predominantly white awards shows like the Oscars, which sparked controversy following Andrea Riseborough’s recent nod over actors like Davis and Deadwyler.
At last year’s ceremony, Donald Glover, Will Smith and Larenz Tate presented trophies to Quinta Brunson, Aunjanue Ellis and Nia Long. The full list of speakers for this year’s meeting has yet to be announced.
Essence’s website will stream the Black Women in Hollywood Awards on March 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.