Inside ESSENCE: Reinventing Black Women In Hollywood
Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for ESSENCE

Earlier this month, ESSENCE gathered some of Hollywood’s top talent to celebrate Black women in entertainment at the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards, where Niecy Nash, Lashana Lynch, Melina Matsoukas, and the cast and crew of Pose were honored.

Viewers also got a glimpse into how the team behind the awards puts ideas together in episode one of Inside Black Women in Hollywood. Now, we’re showing you just what it takes to re-invent the annual celebration.

Episode two of Inside Black Women in Hollywood goes behind-the-scenes of the event, showing just what it takes to bring the awards to life.

Cameras follow the ESSENCE team into meetings as they consider honorees and mull over moving the event from Los Angeles to Atlanta, potentially hosting the awards at Tyler Perry Studios.

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“It was something that I saw in the opening of the Tyler Perry Studios,” says Jovanca Maitland, Director of Live Events and Experiential. “He talked about what made him build this studio and said that while everyone was here talking about #OscarsSoWhite, I’m going to be over here building my own. And it struck a chord with me because it’s something we here at ESSENCE talk about and believe in.”

The second episode of Inside Black Women in Hollywood also provides a little more insight into how honorees are chosen, taking us into a meeting where ESSENCE’s Entertainment Director Cori Murray opened up about Nash being honored.

“[She’s] someone who’s never really got the flowers they really deserve. It was really what she did with When They See Us, playing Corey Wise’s mom, that sent it over the top. She has had this beautiful arc of coming out of comedy and into drama. It really sealed it for us that this is her time to be honored.”


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