(Image Source: Twitter)
This month, reflecting on the important part of American history that is black history, I felt comforted in the realization that each step in the Black American journey was made as a result of unity, selfless respect and the encouragement one to another as a people. In the midst of awards season, that feeling was reaffirmed when I watched the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards. (It is unfortunate, but not surprising, that I did not have that feeling while watching the Oscar's.) The actresses expressed so much love and pride for achievements that were not their own but were their own at the same time. The lack of ego-tolerance was overwhelmingly refreshing as it was replaced by genuine sisterhood.
The comradery holds true for agents of change, past and present. It's fulfilling to finally see the struggles of reality convincingly being reflected in movies like Selma and so many television shows with dynamic black leads. Notable is the transparency and transformation of the actors who are portraying the roles, connecting them to real issues on and off screen, bringing everything full circle while moving in a forward motion. I believe it was all a part of the dream.
How have you reflected on black history through the lens of today?
A few quotes I was inspired by from the Black Women in Hollywood Awards over the years:
"Your mere existing is a reminder to keep fighting."
Iman N. Milner, 2015
"I used to revel in gossip and rumors, and I lived for the negativity inflicted upon my sister actresses or anyone who I felt whose shine diminished my own. Real fierce and fearless women celebrate and compliment other women and we recognize and embrace the notion that their shine in no way diminishes our light, and that it actually makes our light shine brighter."
Gabrielle Union, 2013
"I did dream big. I dreamed the biggest dream I could find. And I feel so blessed to have planted any seed of inspiration in any of you."
Viola Davis, 2011
"On the set of Lee Daniel's The Butler... [Oprah] said to me, 'You know, art is prayer. It's God expressing Himself through you.' Oprah, little did you know, that was an aha moment for me. I had been seeking a deeper spiritual practice my whole life and didn't realize I was already doing it."
Ruth E. Carter, 2015
"I hope that... you will feel the validation of your external beauty, but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. There is no shade in that beauty."
Lupita Nyong'o, 2014
"Our fears can sometimes be our greatest liberators if we stand up and face them."
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, 2015
"We all experience fear, but courage is moving fiercely through that fear, so I'll take fierce and fearless. I will continue to see the me in you, and I hope that you see the you in me."
Regina King, 2015