Each year, as a lead up to the Academy Awards, Essence Magazine hosts a luncheon recognizing and honoring the black actresses, producers, directors, and leaders within the community. Last year I had the pleasure of being a guest of L’Oreal Paris USA and literally was on a high for about a month.
I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO START. Excitedly and excitedly I accepted this year’s invite knowing that MOTHER OPRAH would be receiving the top honor. But L’Oreal had sooo much more for me in store. This time, I was invited to be their Beauty Correspondent, checking out the latest beauty and fashion trends I noticed from the attendees!
To get ready, I had the pleasure of having an L’Oreal Pro team member arrive to my home to beat my face. HYPED. Beauty by Andy is amazing and terribly sweet! I adore you Andrea! DRAMA on the eyes!
When we arrived, I am not going to lie, I was nervous. Beyond. To be in a room surrounded by greatness and women I have admired and looked up to while growing up? *deep exhales*
After I spoke on the livestream, I made it inside the cocktail reception hosted by Ms Bevy! If you are on twitter, follow her @bevymith! Here, I met Eggs from True Blood; I mean Mehcad and his SEXY self. Mm Mm. MMMMM. I met up with Style Pantry, Afrobella, Angel from Concrete Loop, and sooo many more buddies!
But inside, at the luncheon? This is where the magic happened. Sponsored in part by Lincoln, L’Oreal and Target among others, this luncheon was literally like a who’s who of black women in entertainment! At our table (I was sat with L’Oreal) was Laila Ali! GORGEOUS woman. Gorgeous. BUT, Holly Robinson-Peete, KeKe Palmer, Loretta Devine, Yvette Nicole Brown, Iyanla Vanzant, Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Tamara Mowry-Housley, Tichina Arnold, Anika Noni Rose, Golden Brooks, Sanaa Lathan, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Tatyana Ali, Regina Hall, Jill Scott, Salli Richardson Whitfield, Megan Good, Niecy Nash and Naomi Campbell.
Take a breath. WHEW.
But let us talk the honors.
Quvenzhané Wallis was honored with the Breakthrough Award presented by actress Jurnee Smolett
Gabrielle Union brought us to tears with her Fierce and Fearless Award presented by Sanaa Lathan
Naomie Harris stole hearts in her speech was honored with the Lincoln Shining Star Award presented by COMMON!
Mona Akil who took home the Visionary Award brought us to more tears and was presented by the cast of GIRLFRIENDS! YESSS, they even sang the hook.
Alfre Woodard gave us sass and smiles with her Vanguard Award presented by Actor Mehcad Brooks
Oprah Winfrey SHUT.IT.DOWN. with the Power Award
Honestly, this is literally like going to church and leaving with your spirit filled and re-charged. I left floating on a cloud and elated beyond words!
I am just going to end this here, because seriously trying to capture the event in its entirety would leave you with a book. I do hope that I have the pleasure of attending next year!
Thank you L’Oreal!