The multifaceted Tara Duncan gave a stirring acceptance speech as one of the recipients of this year’s ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood Awards.
With Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi as her presenter, the Southern California native opened with a moving story about her upbringing, how influential ESSENCE was throughout her formative years. During the days when Duncah’s mother would braid her hair, along with her sister and women who lived among the community, beautiful moments would arise through thoughtful conversations amongst the ladies in attendance.
“It was a room where women from all over the community would share their stories, and they would come and flip through the stacks of my mom’s ESSENCE Magazines, and ESSENCE would set the tone of the conversation,” Duncan said. “ESSENCE was the one that would tell us what’s hot, what’s in; how to manage your body, your mind, and your man – ESSENCE was the truth.”
“I remember the Susan L. Taylor In Your Spirit column, I remember that image of her, just looking sunkissed; with her cornrows outstretched across the page,” she continued. “And I just remember she looked so regal – she was a goddess, she was sophisticated, she was beautiful. Seeing a woman with that much confidence really set the tone and example for how I wanted to carry myself.”
Donning an amazing, all-black ensemble, the President of Freeform and Onyx Collective spoke about how proud she was with the people in the room, and how grateful it was to be in their presence at what was a beautiful ceremony. Even with all her accomplishments, at times, Duncan said that she still feels moments of inadequacy, and doubting in the work she’s doing, but finds solace in her contemporaries, supporters, and loved ones.
As an exclamation point to her emotional speech, Duncan gave a shout out to her fellow Black Women In Hollywood Honorees Danielle Deadwyler, Dominique Thorne, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Gina Prince-Bythewood. “I feel brave, I feel bold, and I feel a part of the sisterhood that is changing the world,” she said, before closing with a heartfelt “thank you” to all of her colleagues.