This article could be about all the multitude of movies being nominated for Golden Globe, SAG or Oscars this year, that most of us have never heard of or it could have been about the fact that “Selma” was snubbed in categories where it surely deserved a nomination, and most have said, a win. It could also have been about the parties or the fashion encompassing the events. However, what I chose to write about are the last three days of the award season.
On Saturday night, The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) broadcasted The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon that is held annually the day before the Oscars. This award ceremony has been going on for a few years. Although, the public was only left with articles, pictures and social media to interpret the beauty of this event. However, Saturday night it was different and I am thankful that we were able to witness this greatness. We were able to see the joy on the faces of the women (and some men) in attendance, we were able to hear the immense joy and service in the acceptance speeches given by the honorees… as the viewing audience was able to feel the power of sisterhood that was palpable in the room. Oprah said, “This event is about black women being able to lift each other up.” Her words did not do justice to the feeling I got just by viewing on my television screen; the room filled with black women who are all great in their own right, fearlessly embracing the greatness of one other. Regina King talked about the universe always having her back and the grace that was present throughout the room. Ruth E. Carter shared that so many legendary black poets’ influenced her to become a costume designer. Iman Milner said that the mere existence of the women in the room gave her the temerity to keep pushing forward after so many “no’s”. Gugu Mbatha-Raw detailed how she was felt embraced and had a sense of family from being in the room. One of The Chocolates of “Orange Is The New Black”; Danielle Brooks thanked all of the chocolate goddesses out there that have paved the way for them.
It is practical; that the competition among black actresses does exist on some miniscule level. It is probable; the media is responsible for creating the notion that black women are at each other’s throats in Hollywood due to the lack of roles available to them and it is possible; these women view the only competition for any role is just the woman they see in the mirror. Yet, on this night none the aforementioned was given energy. When the camera spanned the audience, you could see the love and respect in the eyes of every woman there as the honorees spoke. The aura of the Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon was our sisters in all of their glory and true sisterhood is like fresh air.
On Sunday night, The Oscars gave out the golden statues to the best of the best in film and song. The best song honor was given to Common and John Legend for “Glory”, from the movie the“Selma”. Right before they were announced as the winners, they gave a performance of the song that brought me and many others to tears. With the backdrop of The Edmund Pettus Bridge, actors/singers marched along in a reenactment of Bloody Sunday (March 7, 1965) when peaceful demonstrators were attacked by police while attempting to march into Montgomery, Alabama hoping to bring attention to voter’s rights and discrimination. During their acceptance speeches; Common noted he was able to perform “Glory” on the same bridge that Dr. King marched on and the bridge that once marked the divide in our country is now a symbol of change. John Legend remarked there are more black men incarcerated now, than they were slaves in 1850. “Justice is juxtapositionin’ us. Justice for all just ain’t specific enough.” Selma is now.
And then, last night B.E.T broadcasted their annual BET Honors event that recognizes the talents, efforts and lives of individuals in the black community. Johnnetta B. Cole, the Education honoree was recognized for her trailblazing spirit let us all know that people should stop teaching little children racism. John W. Thompson, Business and Technology honoree took a 500 million dollar tech company and turned it into a 5 billion dollar Fortune 500 company in a time when there were not many black male executives. Kanye West was honored with the Entrepreneur designation and lamented that just because you may be able to afford expensive clothes and cars, does not mean you cannot still be a slave to them. Usher (Raymond) , the Musical Arts honoree expressed that we all do what we love until we are honored. Theatrical Arts honoree, Phylicia Rashad left us with these profound words, “Legacy is important. Don’t let it go. Don’t give it up.” The B.E.T Honors continually displays the excellence in our community.
These last three days in award season have shown that our talents, our greatness and our spirit does not need to be directed by those that cannot see the immense talents that reside in us. An event created by Essence magazine honors all black women, “Glory” speaks about overcoming and still fighting for our people and our children. The B.E.T Honors shows the expansive deeds of people in our community that are not always the ones we see in the spotlights. Every single one of these events were created by us. There is no need to seek recognition’s embrace from anyone other than the powerful arms of our own village.