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

BEVERLY HILLS, California – Actors, musicians and stars gathered to celebrate and honor black women at Essence Black Women in Hollywood Thursday.

Kelly Rowland hosts the 12th annual lunch at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, which honored the "black-ish" star Jenifer Lewis, "Girls Trip" star Regina Hall, "About Beale Street Could Talk" actress KiKi Layne and " The Hate U Give "star Amandla Stenberg.

Fete brought together stars of all backgrounds to celebrate the theme "The Power of Our Presence" from Oscar nominee Regina King and Angela Bassett to Diddy and Beyonce's mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson.

Here are the biggest moments from the afternoon:

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

Stars talking (and singing) about Jussie Smollett

The only dark cloud surrounding the celebration was latest development in the Smollett case as the "Empire" actor was arrested on Thursday morning by a charge of disorderly behavior by submitting a false police report.

Although Lewis had "absolutely no comment" on the situation on the red carpet, she used vocals to express her thoughts about it during her award for luncheon approval, but if not the name Smollett.

"Before you lie to us, remember that Rosa was sitting on that bus / Before telling your story, remember that Mandela was in prison / Before you do anything, remember Dr. Martin Luther King / Before you lurk and steal, I dare you google Emmett Till, "Lewis sang, before returning to her speaking voice. "Before another dawn, after this mess, before another dawn, and I speak to everyone, remember who shoulders you stand on."

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) Said Smollett was "a friend" with some of her past experiences together.

"I'm so worried, and I just want it over," Waters said. "I'm sorry if he actually disappointed us. I want to wait until the final answer and the result, but it's a tragedy if it's actually a hoax".

"I don't trust what the media says," "Think like a man" star Meagan Good said. "I don't know if I think what the media is saying. The person I know is Jussie is not that person. That's where I stand."

"Unsure" actress Yvonne Orji said she is "with a lot of people really confused right now. We don't know what to do about it."

Jussie Smollett's timeline: How actor went from assault victim to suspect

Angela Bassett disk how to spend Oscar's night

"Black Panther" is up to some Oscar this year, including best picture and costume design, and the cast hopes for another great victory after his SAG Awards milestone best ensemble cast trophy.

Bassett, who played Queen Ramonda in Marvel superhero juggernaut, is on her way to the 91st Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, and she shared how to spend the evening with her fellows.

"We'll see each other that night, we'll hug, we're gonna beam," she said. "We will be proud, we hope, [and] we will have a wonderful expectation of good. And we will go to work the next day."

More: Oscars dress fest! Get up close with iconic clothing from the Black Panther & # 39; Bohemian & # 39;

Breakout star KiKi Layne is disturbed under emotionally accepting speech

Although her voice was silent (because of allergies she promises), Layne left everyone in the ballroom with a lump in her neck at the end of her speech. Following an equally emotional introduction from screen mother King, Layne took the stage to talk about getting the call to the Essence cover and stepped into the celebrity machine after her role as Tish in director Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight" follow-up.

"Being here and getting this award shows me that I am not in all of this," she said.

"People ask me all the time," How has this been? "It's very exciting and I'm so grateful, but it's also very scary," she said, and was choked. "Sometimes it's really scary … and I find it hard to tell people that and ask for help, so I'm grateful to be in this room full of so many people who have just shown me so much love, support and encouragement. . "

Sanaa Lathan shares with Regina Hall becoming a nun

While introducing Hall for her prize, Lathan spread some tea (she said she knows "all" of Bestie Hall's secrets). And the tea was that Hall, known for his roles in "Scary Movie", "Support the Girls" and currently, Showtime "Black Monday," almost left the industry to join a monastery.

Lathan scolded the only reason Hall is not a nun today is that the cutoff age was 40 and Hall at the time was 41. Hall himself confirmed this boast during his speech, which partially gave the decision a bad break. She described a time in the middle of the heart when Lathan took her to talk to an "intuitive" woman: "This is just before the monastery almost happened, and I remember being so upset, but my friends were there [for me]. "

Amber Riley hits all the right notes with Aretha Franklin performance

It has been a few years since" Glee "ended, but Riley showed that her voice has not missed a blow.

Lunch took a break between assumptions to give the audience in the ballroom a musical interlude, with permission of Riley accompanied by a pianist.

She gave a wake-up performance of the Franklins hit song "(You make me feel like a natural woman" who would have done

Show thumbnails

Show captions