During an intimate conversation at the 2018 ESSENCE Festival's Empowerment Experience, comedienne and late night talk show host Robin Thede hosted the “I Shine, She Shines” panel with Claws star Niecy Nash and costume designer Ruth E. Carter to discuss their individual impact on the industry and how to build up the next generation.
Nash, a veteran in the entertainment and film industry, shared lots of gems with the audience and offered transparency about her journey in Hollywood, both personally and professionally.
1. Don’t get weary in waiting.
The actress shared how important patience is when pursuing your goals and although things won’t work out instantly, what’s for you will never miss you.
Nash told the audience, “I got greater later, it wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I got a leading role in a series.”
2. When you do right by people, good things will always happen to you/for you.
Being selfless has done great things for Nash, even when she may not have seen progress in her own career at times, she never hesitated to do things for others. Nash shared with the audience that she once threw a celebratory dinner for herself and other colleagues who had pitched a pilot, but everyone's pilot was picked except for hers. Nash said that didn’t make her bitter, she kept pursuing her crafts and continued to be a mentor and resource for others. “I don’t hoard my blessings and that’s why it keeps coming back to me over and over again.”
3. Don’t allow people to box you in.
Coming into the entertainment/acting world as a comic, Nash always knew that she wanted to test the boundaries and explore other roles and opportunities. “The industry placed me in comedy but I always wanted to do drama”, Nash shared with the audience. After her role as Nurse DiDi in ‘Getting On’, people began to take her serious and gained the impression that if you could make people laugh, you can make people cry. “I had to invite people to see me the way I saw myself.”
4. It’s important to continue telling stories for Black women and women of color.
Nash also spoke on diversity in Hollywood and how she feels the industry still has a way to go. "There’s a lot more stories of women of color that haven’t been told yet. So many times I go in interviews, they mention Viola and Kerry, and think that diversity has been tackled but the surface hasn’t even been scratched."
5. Self esteem: have some!
Nash ended the conversation with a simple yet powerful message to the audience about believing in yourself and not letting anyone deter your thoughts. “That’s why it’s not called them-esteem or us-esteem. It’s called self-esteem. Nobody has to believe what God told you, but you."
Nash's show is renewed for a third season and she will be honored with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame on July 11.