The iconic women of the music industry shine at the 2018 Essence Festival in New Orleans. (July 8)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Actors, musicians and stars gathered to celebrate and pay tribute to black women at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood event on Thursday.

Kelly Rowland hosted the 12th annual luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, which honored the "black" star, Jenifer Lewis, the star of "Girls Trip", Regina Hall, actress KiKi Layne of "Girls Beale Street" and the star of "The Hate U Give" Amandla Stenberg.

The party brought together stars from all walks of life to celebrate the "Power of Our Presence" theme, Oscar-nominated Regina King and Angela Bassett, Tina Knowles-Lawson, mother of Diddy and Beyonce.

Here are the highlights of the afternoon:

Regina Hall winners KiKi Layne, Amandla Stenberg and Jenifer Lewis attend the 2019 Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards dinner at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on February 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo11: Rich Polk, Getty Images for Gasoline)

Stars speak (and sing) of Jussie Smollett

Apparently, the only dark cloud surrounding the day of celebration was the The latest development in the Smollett case, the actor "Empire" having been arrested Thursday morning under indictment of disorderly conduct by filing a false police report.

Although Lewis had "absolutely no comment" about the situation on the red carpet, she used the song to express her thoughts on this topic during her acceptance speech at the luncheon, but did not mention the name. from Smollett.

"Before lying to us, remember Rosa sitting on this bus / Before you tell your story, remember Mandela sitting in this prison / Before you do anything, remember Dr. Martin Luther King / Before to know and steal, I challenge you to google Emmett Till, "sang Lewis, before turning to his speaking voice. "Before another dawn, after this mess, before another dawn and I talk to everyone, remember the shoulders on which you stand."

Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) Stated that Smollett was "a friend", listing some of their past experiences together.

"I'm so worried and I just want it to be over," said Waters. "I'm sorry if, in fact, he has disappointed us – I want to wait for the final answer and the results, but it's a tragedy if in fact it's a hoax."

"I do not trust what the media say," said the star of "Think Like a Man," said Meagan Good. "I do not know if I believe what the media say.The person I know as Jussie is not that person, it's where I am."

The "unsecure" actress, Yvonne Orji, said that she "was with a lot of people who are really confused right now. We do not know what to do with it."

Jussie Smollett's survey schedule: How did the actor go from aggression victim to suspect

Angela Bassett explains how she will spend the night of the Oscars

"Black Panther" is in contention for some Oscars this year, including for the best costume and image design, and the cast hopes to win another major victory after the trophy for the best ensemble presented by the SAG Awards.

Bassett, who played Queen Ramonda in the juggernaut Marvel superheroes, will attend the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday, and she explained how she would spend the evening with her co-stars.

"We'll see each other tonight, we'll hug and teleport," she says. "We will be proud, hopefully, [and] we will have a wonderful expectation of good. And we will go to work the next day. "

More:Oscars party! Get up close with the iconic outfits of "Black Panther," & "Bohemian & # 39;

KiKi Layne, a star of the discussion, stifles during a speech of emotional acceptance

Although her voice was silent (because of the allergies, she promises), Layne left everyone in the ballroom with a lump in her throat at the end of her speech. After an equally moving introduction on the part of Mother King on the screen, Layne spoke up to evoke the call to cover Essence and be thrown into the machine to fame after his role as Tish in the follow-up of "Moonlight" director Barry Jenkins.

"Being here and receiving this award shows me that I'm not alone in all this," she said.

"People ask me all the time:" How was it? "It's really exciting and I'm very grateful, but it's also extremely scary," she said, choking. "Sometimes it's really creepy … and I have a hard time telling people and asking for help, so I'm grateful to be in this room filled with so many people who have just shown me so much love, support and encouragement. "

Sanaa Lathan says Regina Hall has almost become a nun

In presenting Hall for her prize, Lathan toppled some of the tea (she said that she knew "all" bestie Hall's secrets). And tea was in this room, known for her roles in "Scary Movie", "Support Girls" and currently, "Black Monday" from Showtime has almost left the industry to join a convent.

Lathan joked that the only reason Hall is not a nun today is because the age limit was 40 years old and that Hall, at the time, was 41 years old. Hall herself confirmed this information during her speech, attributing the decision in part to a bad break. She described a period at the heart of her grief, when Lathan took her to speak to an "intuitive" woman: "It's just before the convent almost arrived, and I remember that I was so upset but my friends were so here. [for me]. "

Amber Riley takes the good notes with the performance of Aretha Franklin

"Glee" ended a few years ago, but Riley showed that his voice had not failed to beat.

Lunch took a break between the thank you speeches to give the audience in the ballroom a musical interlude, courtesy of Riley accompanied by a pianist.

She enthusiastically sang Franklin's hit song, "Une femme naturelle", which would have made the late Queen of Soul proud.

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