Chanté Adams had yet another full-circle moment last Thursday afternoon, accepting a 2022 Black Women in Hollywood honor just five years after attending the luncheon for the first time ever.
After being honored and introduced by the director of her first-ever film role, Mimi Valdés, Adams took the podium. Donning a stunning purple cocktail dress and already emotional over the kind words spoken about her in the presentation package, she tearfully laughed, “whew, I’m a mess!” before beginning her speech.
While formally accepting the 2022 Ford Vanguard Award, Adams reminisced on her first experience at Black Women in Hollywood, tagging along with Valdés and Bevy Smith to the 2016 luncheon and watching Yara Shahidi, Issa Rae, Aja Naomi King and Janelle Monae receive honors.
“Black women from every generation embraced each other physically and spiritually,” she recalled of the experience. “I entered a space that Black women felt safe enough to exhale into. Essence Black Women in Hollywood is a safe house, a family reunion, a support group, and a fashion show, all wrapped into one.”
In a beautiful metaphor, Adams expressed gratitude for her blossoming career comparing herself to a blooming flower.
“The more I blossom and expand through this industry, the more I realize that a flower does not grow on its own. And it’s important to note that I may be the flower that people admire, but I am not the gardener. That’s God,” she said, giving thanks to The Creator. “If I am the flower, my parents are the soil, my foundation, and my roots. If for any reason a storm comes and ruins what’s above ground, I know for a fact that my roots are so strong, and so supported, I’ll have no problem growing again.”
“To my community of Black women who constantly pour into me: if I am the flower, you all are the water,” she continued. “I feel so incredibly blessed that my real family and my chosen family is filled with Black women who lead with love; whoo will read with you, pray with you, cry with you, and tell you in a hot second not to wear those shoes outside because they are not as cute as you thought they were. I need that, and I have that.”
Before closing, she took a moment to thank the Black Women in Hollywood that came before her, sharing a piece of knowledge that Denzel Washinton shared with her when they worked together.
“One of the many gems Denzel instilled in me was that man gives the award, but God gives the reward,” she told the crowd. “And though I am grateful for this beautiful award that I hope my parents let me keep in my home, the reward is that five years from my first Essence Black Women in Hollywood I get to stand on this stage in front of women who have come before me, who have served as my inspiration, who have fought for us to have a place in this industry, and tell you, ‘thank you.'”
Watch the vide above to hear Chante’s speech in full. The Black Women In Hollywood Awards luncheon is now streaming on Essence Studios.
The 2022 ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards is sponsored by Coca-Cola, Ford, Disney’s Onyx Collective, SmartWater and Warner Brothers Television Group