We love our celebrities here at ESSENCE. This month our annual Black Women in Hollywood celebration is plump with stars in several fields. We think it’s a privilege to host them in our issue, and we are honored to have them grace the cover of our magazine read by 7.5 million Black women—including you. My hope is that ESSENCE will always inspire you to be the star in your own life.

Over the past four decades, we’ve cheered many astounding superstars in our pages, among them First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Toni Morrison, Dr. Mae Jemison, Lena Horne, Faye Wattleton, Alice Walker, Dr. Betty Shabazz, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, Nancy Wilson, Iman, Janet Jackson, Grace Jones, LaTanya Richardson, Alek Wek, Jada Pinkett Smith, Nia Long, Naomi Campbell, Mary J. Blige, Lauryn Hill and Kerry Washington.

In this issue, in addition to Washington, we are pleased to add producer Shonda Rhimes and PR strategist Judy Smith. Rhimes, the creative vision behind Grey’s Anatomy and other hits, is arguably the most powerful Black woman in Hollywood and one of the most sought-after writers and producers in entertainment. Smith, a lawyer based in Washington, D.C., has risen to the top of her game helping clients like Marion Jones and Kobe Bryant when they have been caught up in a media firestorm. In fact, Smith is the inspiration for Rhimes’s new TV show, Scandal, starring Washington and debuting on ABC in April…

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