The Black Women in Hollywood Awards was brought to end with lots of emotions, where ESSENCE honored "The Black in Cinematic Universe" on Thursday in Beverly Hills, California.
Aunjanue Ellis, Quinta Brunson, Nia Long and Chanté Adams were among the honorees, who are featured on the cover of the March/April issue of ESSENCE magazine.
Adams, who starred alongside Michael B. Jordan in "A Journal for Jordan," said in her acceptance speech she feels supported enough to feel protected no matter what the future may bring.
"Abbott Elementary" star and creator Brunson said the Black women characters she had written for the show had close link to her life.
"these three women represent my family and how different we can all be at different points in our lives, but with grace we can see each other for what we are, Black women doing our very best in a world that isn't kind to us...I will continue to create with grace care and love for Black women truly in the name of this honor," she said.
Will Smith got emotional as he introduced "King Richard" co-star Aunjanue Ellis.
"She has awakened a thing in me where she mirrors back to me the best version of myself, she mirrors back to me what I'm supposed to be," he said, adding, "damn it I said I wasn't going to be up here crying."
"I have been told my stories are too dark and that darkness means that it's too Black," Ellis told the audience. Repurposing a famous Celie Johnson quote from "The Color Purple," she ended by stating "Yes, I am Black. There was nothing ugly about me and I am here."
Ellis is nominated for best supporting actress at Sunday's Oscars.