Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards airing on OWN

Almost every year around Oscar nominations time, the question tends to be asked about where the black filmmakers and actors are among the nominees. Women of color in particular seem to be left out of the Oscar conversation on many occasions. I’m not sure if the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards were created as a response to real or perceived snubs from the Academy, but, now in its eighth annual installment, the ceremony does a good job of recognizing top African-American women in the entertainment industry. This year’s ceremony will air in a taped presentation Feb. 21 at 10pm ET/PT on OWN, the first time it has been broadcast on television.

OWN’s coverage of the Black Women in Hollywood Awards, hosted by Tracey Edmonds and Shemar Moore, will feature exclusive backstage interviews, red-carpet highlights and reflections from African-American women in film and television.

Oprah Winfrey opens the luncheon, followed by appearances from Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, Ava DuVernay, Carmen Ejogo, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Mara Brock Akil and more.

Honors at the eighth annual ceremony include the 2015 Black Women in Hollywood Vanguard Award, going to seven stars of the Emmy award-winning series Orange Is The New Black, including Adrienne C. Moore, Danielle Brooks, Laverne Cox, Lorraine Toussaint, Samira Wiley, Uzo Aduba, and Vicky Jeudy, marking the first time the award will be given to a group instead of a single person. Actress/director Regina King is receiving the Fierce & Fearless Award; breakout British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw is receiving the Lincoln Breakthrough of the Year Award; and Academy Award-nominated costume designer Ruth E. Carter is receiving the Visionary Award.

The eighth annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards airs Feb. 21 at 10pm ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.