Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige Honored by Essence Magazine

Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige will be among 4 esteemed honorees next March at Essence’s third annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon.


The event recognizes women of color who’ve made strong impacts in the entertainment industry.


Next year, the award luncheon will also commemorate Essence’s 40th anniversary. Latifah is being honored with the “Power Award” for her numerous milestones in music, film, and TV.


The New Jersey native was the first solo female emcee to go gold with 1993’s Black Reign.


That album also earned her a Grammy for the female empowerment anthem “U.N.I.T.Y.” In film, she’s received acclaim for her diverse roles in Set It Off, Bringing Down the House, The Secret Life of Bees, and her Oscar-nominated turn in Chicago.


On the small screen, Latifah executive produced and starred in HBO’s Life Support, winning a Golden Globe and SAG Award.


Mary J. Blige will take home the “Songstress of the Year Award.”


The veteran singer performed “Lean On Me” in January at President Obama’s Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial.


Her latest single, “The One,” featured Drake and was released on July 21. The new album Stronger with Each Tear is due out on December 21.


To date, Mary J. has had every one of her albums go multiplatinum or platinum since her 1992 debut What’s the 411?.


In addition to Latifah and Blige, rising actresses Zoe Saldana (“Star to Watch”) and Gabourey Sidibe (“Best Breakthrough Performance”) will receive recognition.


“Our annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon is taking on special meaning in 2010 as we are celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Essence magazine by paying homage to phenomenal women throughout the year,” explained Essence editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray. “We are proud to carry the Essence legacy into the future by honoring the accomplishments of such brilliant performers as Latifah, Zoe, Mary J., and Gabourey, whose incredible talent and sheer grit are serving to change the face of Hollywood.”


The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon takes place Oscar Award week on March 4, 2010 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

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