The 50th annual NAACP Image Awards, affectionately known as The Black Oscars, took place last weekend in Los Angeles. It’s a celebration for us, by us that allows for almost every excellent Black actor, director, and writer in TV, film and music a chance to be given their roses and respect now.

“I never feel more comfortable than when I’m around us,” ESSENCE’s latest cover star Issa Rae shared on the red carpet.

Issa Rae attends the 50th NAACP Image Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 30, 2019 in Hollywood, California.

Essentially, this celebration has become a hub for the Black and the excellent. So while on the star-studded red carpet, ESSENCE asked a few of your faves to share how they define Black excellence and what it means to them.

“That’s my goal, to do all things in excellence so that we understand we have the capacity to do that and we stop accepting less of the truth than who we are,” Iyanla Vanzant said.

Carla Hall added, “It is talking about somebody that is at the top of their game, somebody that you want to emulate and look up to and to go forward and to carry our race to the top of the mountaintop.”

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