Earl Gibson III

Allen presented Rae with the Vanguard award at the ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood event and sung her praises.

Feb, 24, 2017

The 10th annual ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood event was a total love fest.

Legendary actress and producer Debbie Allen presented her friend and colleague, breakthrough star and creator of HBO’s smash hit new series Insecure, Issa Rae, with the Vanguard Award for her incredible accomplishments thus far in Hollywood.

Allen, who produced an episode of Insecure and has shared an ESSENCE cover and longtime friendship with Rae, paid tribute to her dear friend with a words of praise and power.

“It’s incredible to watch as she continues to forge her own path while leading a new generation of leaders and dooers,” Allen told the crowd of Rae. “Vanguard means the ones that stand in the front of a fight—the ones that lead the battle.”

As Allen proudly pointed out, Rae who was discovered after her brilliant web series Awkward Black Girl went viral, is now a New York Times bestselling author, and the creator, executive producer, writer and star of Insecure. For her artistry she had already earned nominations for a golden globe award and two NAACP image awards.

“She’s smart, she’s funny and she’s talented,” said Allen, who is presently an executive producer and guest star on Grey’s Anatomy. “She is gorgeous. She is what I call an OBG – an original Black girl. Her success is proof that there is nothing awkward about being focused and doing the work honey.”

We couldn’t agree more, Debbie.