ESSENCE will present in the next two weeks TWENTY– Three digital exhibits that I curated to celebrate excellence in acting, art, and fashion. These galleries tell the stories of people with color who stepped out of the faith and paved the way for the next generations of artists and creators. I believe only when we acknowledge our triumphs do we see what is possible and dream of what is next. Success is an inspiration that drives us forward.
In my bestseller Supreme Models: Iconic black women who revolutionized fashionI propose that black models are the forerunners of social change. Every time a color model breaks through, it redefines the standards of beauty. Everyone knows Iman, Naomi and Tyra, but what about activist Bethann Hardison, trailblazer Helen Williams, and eternal muse Karen Alexander? Or the new “It Girls” Adut Akech, Imaan Hammam and Dilone, who set international catwalks and the pages of top fashion magazines on fire with their modern, multicultural beauty. I’d like to present you Twenty models you should know.
Twenty legendary actresses is a group of women whose work continues to redefine the worlds of cinema, television and theater. It’s not about who is the best. We’ll leave that to the Academy Awards, the Emmys, and the Tonys. It’s about the lasting impact of these women. This list of icons like Josephine Baker, Dorothy Dandridge and Cicely Tyson, as well as young legends Halle Berry, Viola Davis and Regina King are women who have had an indelible impact on the world through their talent and the use of their voices in social change.
And finally, with temperatures plummeting, the ongoing need for social distancing, and the holidays ahead, I’m about to present the chicest list of books ever! 20 HAVE TO OWN ART BOOKS FROM A – Z lists books that celebrate every area of excellence in the black diaspora. From visual celebrations of the life and work of celebrities Pharrell Williams and Rihanna to a celebration of the black style in Brown bohemia and Dandy Lion. From the work of legendary photographers like Kwame Brathwaite, Gordon Parks and Kehinde Wiley and beautiful depictions of blacks in art and fashion in Highest models, The new black avant-garde to Ebony: Covering Black America. These books celebrate the beauty and diversity of the black race. They are the gifts that keep giving!
I couldn’t be more excited to put these lists of my favorite things down in a magazine as historic as ESSENCE. As a kid, I read my mother’s ESSENCE magazines from start to finish and breathed in the beauty and wonder of the black experience. I found inspiration on the ESSENCE website. I hope these galleries do the same for a new generation of readers too.
Below is my second curated digital exhibition:
Twenty legendary actresses
With three Academy Award nominations, five Golden Globe nominations, five Primetime Emmy Award nominations, three BAFTA Award nominations, and six Screen Actors Guild nominations, Viola Davis is one of the greatest actresses of her generation. In 2017, the Emmy and Golden Globe winner won her first Oscar for portraying Rose in the screen adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. fences.
Since debuting as the good girl next door Brenda Jenkins on the hit television show 227Regina King dazzled us with performance after performance based on authenticity and humanity. Few other actresses are as successful in both film and television. On the small screen, King has delivered Emmy award-winning appearances in American crime and The guards. An actress of exceptional reach, King moves effortlessly from contemporary roles in hit films like Guys around and Jerry Maguire to contemporary pieces like beam and If Beale Street could talk, for which she won the 2019 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Actress, activist and humanitarian Cicely Tyson is a national treasure. During her seven-decade career, Ms. Tyson has provided unforgettable accomplishments that have resulted in three Emmy Awards, a Tony Award and an Honorary Academy Award. From her Golden Globe and Oscar-nominated appearance in Sounder on her double Emmy award-winning performance in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman for her five-time Emmy Award-nominated appearance in How to get away with murderMs. Tyson is one of the most acclaimed actresses in film and television history.
During her career on stage and on screen, Diahann Carroll never shied away from controversial roles. In her Tony Award winning portrayal of a model in an interracial relationship in No strings!, her lead role on the groundbreaking sitcom Julia, her Oscar-nominated role as a single mother of six trying to keep her family together Claudineand of course her career-defining role as the first black diva of primetime television, Dominique Deveraux in dynastyDiahann Carroll has left an indelible mark on the history of entertainment. “I like to think that I opened doors to other women when that wasn’t my original intention,” Ms. Carroll said in 2002. With an Oscar nomination, multiple Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe award, a Grammy award and Tony Award, that’s exactly what she did.
In 1955, Dorothy Dandridge was the first African American woman to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. Forty-seven years later, in 2002, Halle Berry became the first person of color to win the Oscar for best actress for her appearance in Monsters Ball
. Interestingly, Berry won both the Emmy Best Actress award and the Golden Globe for her groundbreaking performance in We introduce: Dorothy Dandridge
“It’s one of my biggest heartaches. The next morning I thought, ‘Wow, I was selected to open a door.” And then, in order not to have anyone … I ask, “Was that an important moment or was it just a.” important moment for me? “I wanted to believe that it was so much bigger than me. It felt so much bigger than me, mostly because I knew there should have been others in front of me and they weren’t.”
– Halle Berry, diversity
She was the first woman of color to receive a nomination for the Best Actress Academy Award for her breakthrough role in Carmen JonesDorothy Dandridge is arguably Hollywood’s most famous African American actress. Known as “the black Marilyn Monroe,” Dandridge is also the first African American woman to appear on the cover of Life magazine. The star, who broke barriers in Hollywood in the 1950s, continued to inspire actresses such as Janet Jackson, Jada Pinkett Smith and Halle Berry, who became the first black woman to win the Academy’s Best Actress award in 2002.
Four-time Emmy Award winner Alfre Woodard first noticed us in the Off-Broadway play For girls of color who have considered suicide / When the rainbow is enough. It’s her Oscar-nominated role in the movie Cross Creek that made her a star and shows us a bit of the talent we’d see in scene-theft performances like on hit TV shows Hill Street Blues and The exercise. To fully understand the scope of Alfre’s career, here is a historical fact. Between 1984 and 2013, Alfre Woodard received an incredible seventeen Emmy Award nominations.
Like a fairytale princess, Lupita Nyong’o seemed destined to win the Best Supporting Actress award for her feature film debut as Patsey, a slave who endures unspeakable horrors, as the Best Picture Winner. 12 years slave
. Nyong’o followed her Oscar win with roles in two blockbuster Hollywood film franchises. war of stars
and Marvels Black Panther
“When I look down at this golden statue, it can remind me and any little child that your dreams are valid no matter where you are from. Thank you very much.”
– Lupita Nyong’o, The 2014 Academy Awards
Activist, director and producer Angela Bassett is one of the most famous actresses of her generation. Bassett, who received her Masters of Fine Arts from Yale School of Drama, began her stellar career with roles on two day soaps. Ryan’s hope and Looking for tomorrow. Powerhouse appearances in critically acclaimed films such as Passion fish and Malcolm X. quickly followed. But it’s her tour-de-force portrayal of Tina Turner in What does love have to do with it? That earned Bassett her first Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win.
Audra McDonald is the winner of six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and one Emmy Award. She is also the only actress to have won Tony Awards in four different acting categories. As one of the few stars whose success on television can match her stage career, Ms. McDonald earned her first Emmy for her role in the stationery production of Sweeney Todd:: The Demon Barber on Fleet Street. President Barack Obama presented her with the National Medal of Arts in 2015.
BAFTA Award-winning actress Thandie Newton who mixes roles in blockbusters like Mission Impossible II and independent films like to flirt found her biggest hit for her Emmy-winning role Maeve on HBOs Westworld. Newton is an actress of unusual versatility. His notable appearances include controversial roles in the films Jefferson in Paris, belovedand the Oscar-winning film crash.
The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards were historic for several reasons. In 2020, 35 black actors out of 102 nominees earned 35 black actors a record number of Emmy nominations. With her win as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a miniseries or a film, Uzo Aduba won her third Emmy Award in association with legendary actress Cicely Tyson.
The beloved actress has a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series and is the first black woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.
We know the actress and singer for her iconic performance as Catwoman in the 60s and as the hysterical seductress Lady Eloise in the 90s Rom-Com boomerang
but it is so much more. An outspoken activist throughout her career, Eartha Kitt suffered a setback in 1968 when Mrs. Kitt spoke out against the Vietnam War during a lunch at the White House with FLOTUS Lady Bird Johnson. The resulting backlash led her to be blacklisted in the US.
“The thing that hurts, that turned into anger, was when I realized that when you are in a country where they say you are entitled to tell the truth, you are telling the truth in your face beats and loses the job. “
– Eartha Kitt, Essence magazine
In 1940, Hattie McDaniel made history and became the first African American woman to win an Oscar for her portrayal of Mammy in Blown by the wind. When she accepted her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, McDaniel said, “I sincerely hope that I will always do my race and the film industry credit.” It would be five decades before another African American actress won the award again.
Oprah Winfrey is one of Hollywood’s most prolific figures. In numbers, O has 18 Daytime Emmy Awards, 2 Primetime Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a Tony Award. She has two Academy Award nominations – Best Supporting Actress for The colour purple and Best Film Producer of Selmaand became the first African American woman to be nominated. And there is this honorary Oscar, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
The legendary Broadway star Lena Horne began her career as a singer in the choir of the legendary Cotton Club. It wasn’t long before Hollywood called and MGM signed the young starlet. During this time, she starred in the two films for which she is best known Cabin in heaven and Stormy weather. However, her career failed when filmmakers did not know what to do with a black actress of her beauty and talent. When Horne left Hollywood, he turned to a successful career in music and won five Grammy Awards.
Pam Grier is the legendary star who became the face of the blaxploitation era and changed the image of the African American in cinema. In genre-defining films like Coffy, Foxy Brown and Sheba, baby
Grier’s performances conferred roles that might on the surface have appeared degrading, strength, sexuality, and intelligence.
“You know, I had to compete with a lot of men in the industry. They were uncomfortable with portraying a progressive black woman in an action role. As a strong woman, I was seen as a threat. “
– Pam Grier, The guard
Josephine Baker, Fredi Washington, and Ethel Waters
Three famous actresses, each victim of the time they were born. Racism and the Hays Code prevented black actresses from being more than servants and slaves in films. It would have been interesting to see what job they would have done if challenging and exciting parts had been available for black actresses in Hollywood’s early days.
With her scene-robbing performance as psychic Oda Mae Brown in the 1990s ghostWhoopi Goldberg was the second black actress to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and only the fifth African American to win an Oscar.