The winner of the 2015 ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Discovery Award presented by the Time Warner Foundation was announced today as actress and writer Iman N. Milner. She is the co-writer of and female lead in the short film Love Escapes Us, which was the winning entry in our second annual Short Film Contest. It is a silent, black-and-white modern love story that shows the arc of a young couple's love.
Milner received her award at the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood luncheon today in front of a room full of A-listers. Writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood, who was one of the judges of the film contest, presented Milner with the award saying, "This year’s discovery was selected by a group of us who were captivated and moved by her silent black-and-white film that chronicles the complex journey of a relationship between a young Black couple. The classically trained actress co-wrote and starred in this very cool, evocative film that fully expresses her character's complicated range of emotions over time, from infatuation to contentment to disillusionment and more with the eye of an accomplished filmmaker."
The 27-year-old stood before the star-studded crowd thanking them and ESSENCE for setting her on her path:
"To the women in this room; I am forever indebted. For every no that I've heard, your mere existence has been a welcome reminder to keep fighting. You all have changed my life by daring to be beautiful, intelligent, talented and trail-blazing even when the rest of the world would rather you not be."