Meet Nia Long, Quinta Brunson, Aunjanue Ellis And Chanté Adams The Honorees of The 2022 ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood Awards
After she accepted that possibility–-and the reality that she’s not interested in being a red-carpet darling—things changed. Ellis started to hear her name on nomination lists more often. She received a Critics’ Choice Television Award nomination for Best Actress in a Movie or Miniseries, for her role as Aminata Diallo in The Book of Negroes; and a Primetime Emmy Award nom for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie, for her portrayal of Sharonne Salaam in the Central Park Five miniseries When They See Us. For her part as Hippolyta Freeman, in the horror-meets–science fiction series Lovecraft Country, Ellis earned both a SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series and a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
"If it’s not going to happen in the classrooms, we have to think of film and television as the classroom. That’s my mission, I feel like the God I believe in put me on Earth to do this. That’s why I wake up in the morning: to do that."
In 2016, straight out of Carnegie Mellon drama school, Chanté Adams landed the lead in the Netflix biopic Roxanne Roxanne—and a starring role in the nouveau Black Love classic The Photograph shortly thereafter. Now, fresh off of being directed by Denzel Washington in A Journal for Jordan and sharing a Broadway stage with Phylicia Rashad, Adams has secured yet another leading part, this time on a Prime Original series.
“If I’m going to be labeled as anything, I want it to be as transformational.”
For Nia Long, whose acting career spans more than three decades in film and television—and who is cited as the pinnacle of beauty and sex appeal in more than a few song lyrics— performance remains about art. Fame and fortune were never the goals for the now-veteran actor. Instead, stepping in front of the camera was a catalyst for something more primal: survival.
“To truly make an impact and to be true to the art, an artist needs to be heard. Because I come to the table having really studied what I’m doing, not just showing up.”
— Nia Long
There’s a theory that birth order influences a child’s personality. Those born last, the hypothesis suggests, are more likely to be risk-taking attention seekers with strong senses of humor. The claims haven’t been scientifically proven, but for 32-year-old writer, actress, producer and comedian Quinta Brunson, they seem to be spot on.
“Life can be dark and horrible, but what makes humans so resilient is their ability to find the light in dark situations. I think that’s the only reason why we’re still on this planet. It’s certainly the only reason Black people are still here. Our ability to shine the light is really strong. That’s really important and I wanted to be a part of providing that.”
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