Thursday was a huge night for Hollywood newcomers, Olympian Simone Biles and actress Issa Rae, who were both honored by EBONY as two of 100 most influential people changing the course of history.
EBONY celebrated the remarkable achievements of Black professionals, entertainers and civic leaders this week, something that Biles and Rae are both proud to be part of. “I’m honored to be here,” Simone said.
Rae, however, was shocked to have made the coveted list. “I’m overjoyed, I always pinch myself. I even asked, ‘Am I even on the list tonight?'” She added, “I’m excited, I’m taking it all in.”
Solange and Beyonce were also recognized during the annual soiree held at the Beverly Hilton hotel, but unfortunately, neither sister was able to attend. The singers’ parents, Tina and Mathew, however, did come out to support alongside Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland, who was accompanied by her husband, Tim Witherspoon.
Some of the other honorees included Cicely Tyson and Nile Rodgers, who received the Icon Award. “It just means you’re like old or something,” Rodgers joked to HipHollywood while on the red carpet. “But I do feel honored.”
Many of the stars honored this year were also activists on social media. Dozens of celebrities took to various platforms to speak out about the year’s most controversial occurrences — something that the night’s attendees think is incredibly important.
“We have these different platforms,” The Real’s Loni Love told us. “So when you have a platform like I do, where you’re reaching millions and millions of people, you need to use it correctly.”
Garcelle Beauvais added, “We are given this platform for a reason. It’s not just about looking pretty and coming on a red carpet. It’s about using your platform and getting things done.”
Netflix’s ‘Step Sisters’ Is ‘Bring It On’ … But Way More Woke!
Netflix is getting ready to “Bring It On” … in more ways than one. The streaming service’s new flick Step Sisters is reminiscent of the 90s dance film, but delves deeper into racial themes like cultural appropriation, tokenization and interracial dating.
In the film Megalyn Echikunwoke (Arrow) plays the president of a black sorority who is tasked with teaching one of the campus’ white sororities how to step for a charity competition. At first glimpse the film seems to be stepping into a can of worms — and had folks on Twitter up in arms, but the creators and cast told HipHollywood it isn’t about cultural appropriation but instead cultural exchange.
“There’s a strong political message, and there’s a lot of racial content,” said Nia Jervier. “But I think that the pill that may be difficult to swallow is dipped in honey, because it’s funny.”
What also helps is that producer/writers like Lena Waithe (Masters of None), Chuck Hayward (Dear White People) and Ben Cory Jones (Underground) are behind the project – so you know it’s woke.
“At the end of the day, Jamila the lead character in our minds she’s reaching over to show them a part of our culture. It doesn’t dilute our culture,” said Jones. ” And I love that we can take stepping and evolve that into issues of race and culture.”
Step Sisters begins streaming on Netflix January 20th.
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