On Wednesday morning, at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, a ballroom full of trailblazing women gathered for The Hollywood Reporter’s annual breakfast for their annual Power 100 Women In Entertainment. Among those in attendance were Halle Bailey, Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, Tia Mowry and Garcelle Beauvais, as well as Elaine Welteroth, Laura Harrier, Alexandra Shipp, Susan Kelechi Watson, Amber Riley, Vanessa Williams and Courtney A. Kemp, to name a few.
After Molly Shannon opened the program, Michelle Pfeiffer presented the Equity in Entertainment Award to Selma Blair and later, Steve Carell presented the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award to Jennifer Aniston, who graces the cover of the current issue of The Hollywood Reporter.
When Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and creator of The 1619 Project (and one of ESSENCE’s November/December cover girls) Nikole Hannah-Jones, stepped to the stage to deliver her keynote, she spoke of the importance of knowing, understanding and sharing history, despite the pushback. Hannah-Jones received a standing ovation when she closed with these powerful words…
“People only ban things that they fear will unsettle their power and we cannot sit idly by and concede our power as storytellers and our power as citizens and the power that we collectively hold,” she said. “These are unprecedented times, we must respond in unprecedented ways, because the arc of the universe does not, in fact, bend towards justice of its own volition – we must bend it. I have chosen my weapon and now, you all must choose yours, if you haven’t already, and join this fight to save our democracy.”