the 2023 honorees
For 16 years, ESSENCE has shone a light on the Black women actors, directors, producers, screenwriters and showrunners whose work encompasses the breadth and depth of our lived experiences. This year, we continue that legacy by putting an even greater emphasis on those who are calling the shots behind the scenes–both on sets and in boardrooms–while also recognizing those actresses whose remarkable talent has yet to be properly seen by the mainstream.
“What has been the hardest fight and why there's so much space between my projects, is because of the type of things that I want to tell and that's centering Black women, telling Black stories.”
“I have been reared and loved, and my creativity has been fostered by Black women, and by Black southerners, and by Black artists of that region. Everything about me has come from that space.”
“The goal is to get to keep playing roles that are creative and stretch the imagination, but that also show the range that truthfully exists within our expression of Black womanhood and Black girlhood.”
“The secret is there is no secret. The thing that I am very fortunate that I've gained in my career is being able to trust my instincts and not be too worried about the outcome.”
“I really have to thank God. Because being at this time in my life, in my career, the things that I have witnessed as a woman, as an artist, as a Black woman… I am ever so grateful.”
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