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Lupita, Shonda and the 2015 ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon

My favorite event of the year is the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon. I’ve gone three out of the last four years and there is no other space that feels as supportive, inspiring and epic as this one. There’s something incredibly special about how accessible the celebrities who come to it are. Everyone is like 5 tables away, including Oprah. Read my recap of the 2014 ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon.

This year, though??? Listen. I’m still not fully recovered from all the amazingness that happened.

My alphet.

My alphet.

I had a spot on the red carpet right between ESSENCE’s platform for interviews and the LA Sentinel. As celebrities walked the red carpet, they stopped and chatted. I met some and reconnected with some. I took selfies with Margaret Avery, Lorraine Toussaint, Regina King, Mara Brock Akil, Tika Sumpter, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Teyonah Parris, Ava DuVernay… so many!

I also took videos as I interviewed some of them. Regina King, who has always been one of my sheroes because of the versatility of her career and the fact that she is PLAIN hilarious gave me a great byte when I asked her what she will say to people who say women aren’t funny.

YES. MA’AM. “Check the resume” indeed. How can you not love her? Also, she was an honoree at this year’s luncheon. Regina comes with ALL the receipts you need!

And then when the event started, the real magic did too. There is no way you can be amongst such awesomeness and not be in awe yourself the entire time. The opening presentation was by Oprah Winfrey, Carmen Ejogo, and Aja Naomi King.

Lupita Nyong’o presented the Vanguard Award to the cast of Orange is the New Black (Adrienne C. Moore, Danielle Brooks, Laverne Cox, Lorraine Toussaint, Samira Wiley, Uzo Aduba, and Vicky Jeudy).

I met and spoke with my Naija sisthren, Uzo, after they got their award. She’s just as gracious as you’d imagine. I am so rooting for her!

Luvvie and Uzo Aduba

Mara Brock Akil gave Regina King the Fierce & Fearless Award. David Oyelowo (and his adorable daughter) were on stage to give the Lincoln Breakthrough of the Year Award to actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Ava DuVernay presented the Visionary Award to costume designer Ruth E. Carter. And Common and John Legend performed their (now Academy Award-winning song) Glory.

AGAIN, this event was full of win. FULL OF IT.

But let’s talk about the two things that happened that REALLY had me losing my mind.

I met Lupita Nyong’o and she knew who I was!!!

During the luncheon, I saw Lupita standing unbothered and I went over. This is what happened.

*strolls over* *waits til she turns my way*

Me: Hi, Lupita. My name is Luvvie and I’m a huge fan!
Lupita: *shakes my hand* “Oh Luvvie! Nice to meet you and nice to put a face to the words! I read your letter to me last year AND I shared it. It was so nice.”
Me: *dying on the inside* OMG WOW.
Lupita: “Yes!” *turns to the person next to her* “She’s a blogger who has written some nice things about me.”
Me: *dies some more*

Then David Oyelowo stops in front of us and they start talking and they’re having a moment. They were talking about Americanah and at this point, I WAS GAGGINNGGGGG. You know I was tempted to be all “Hey you guise. I totally wanna work on that movie, even if it’s to grab coffee because Ifemelu is basically me.” But I didn’t. I just watched their exchanged wondering if my life was real.

When David walked away, I told Lupita that her cursive is amazing and she laughed and was surprised I even knew about the letter she wrote. Then I asked “Can we take a selfie?” She said “SURE!” And we took a selfie but it was too dark. She goes: “Oh no. We need flash.” BECAUSE: CHOCOLATE. Someone on her team takes my phone and we snap the best picture EVER AND I LIVE AND DIE AND LIVE AGAIN!!!

Luvvie and Lupita Nyongo

OHEMGEE.

I thank her and walk away going “OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG” and a couple of people saw our exchange and had their mouths on the floor.

LUPITA NYONG’O KNEW WHO I WASSSS!!!!! JESUS IS LORD!

So I was already floating and getting my life. Then I realized that Shonda Rhimes was in the building. I tweeted that I was going to find her. Because otherwise, Gladiators were going to be totally disappointed in me. When the luncheon ended, I went straight to her table (which she shared with Oprah). I was 7 feet from Mother O but Shonda was who I needed to talk to that day.

Me and Shonda Rhimes really do go together!

People are greeting Shonda left and right so I just wait patiently. Another celebrity even stood by me, waiting for their turn to talk to her. They swooped in, telling her how excited they were to one day work for her. Then when that lady left, I introduced myself.

Me: “Hi, I’m Luvvie. I think you’re amazing.”
Shonda: “Hey Luvvie!”
*someone interrupts us to say hey to Shonda. When they leave, she turns back to me*
Shonda: “Wait. Luvvie. ARE YOU AWESOMELY LUVVIE!”
Me: “Yes I am.”
Shonda: “OMG I LOVE YOU!!!” *gives me a huge hug that was the best thing ever* “I LOVE YOUR TWEETS! You’re so funny!”
Me: “OMG You know who I am!”
Shonda: “OF COURSE!” *steps back* “I’m kinda starstruck.”
Me: *dying on the inside* NO YOU ARE NOT! I AM! I love you. Can we take a selfie??
Shonda: YES! *comes behind me and puts her head on my shoulder*

Luvvie and Shonda Rhimes

And then we take 2 selfies and hug again and I tell her I love her some more.

WE. HAD. A. MOMENT. Like WUT? Shonda told ME she was kinda starstruck. I don’t even understand! And I wanted to cry because WHAT IS LIFE?!? What is my life? I stepped into a room with the most powerful women who I’ve admired for so long. And some knew who I was! Y’all. I could not believe it myself.

And then Shonda went and sealed our boo-ship with this tweet:

Shonda Rhimes tweet Luvvie

Yup. I’m officially a stan. Like BeyHive level of love for Miss Rhimes. BET NOBODY SAY NOTHING BAD BOUT SHONDA!

It’s been over a week since this event and I’m still having random in moments where I go “EEEEEEEEEEEE!” Catching the vapors because who’da thunk it? WHO? I was affirmed that people are paying attention to what I’m doing. It was like the universe gave me dap and the next time someone asks me what has been a highlight of my career, I’ll say “the time I met Lupita and Shonda and they knew my work.”

Shoutout to my Glam Squad for getting me TOGETHER for the event. My girl Felicia Leatherwood (@LovingYourHair) gets my hair to right everytime and Niehla Ollie (@NiehlaO) snatched my faceeeee into life.

Thank you to Essence for creating the space for bold, brilliant and beautiful Black women to love on each other and celebrate each other. And thank you God for the gifts that got me into that room.

Press play. I just… #BlackWomeninHollywood was everything and I cannot believe today.

A video posted by Awesomely Luvvie (@luvvie) on

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49 Comments

  1. March 1, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    This was absolutely amazing! Congrats to you and your success Luvvie!

  2. AMar
    March 1, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    This is ALL the awesome Luvvie! Every last bit of awesome! Bask in it, girl. You are so deserving of all the wonders that are coming your way!

    • March 1, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      I am twirling in glee. Thank you!

  3. Classy Lady
    March 1, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    You are awesome, indeed! So proud of you and glad that you are getting the recognition you deserve. Keep it up!

    • March 1, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      I appreciate this. Thank you!

  4. March 1, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Congrats on everything. I followed you that day and hollered when I saw the pics.

    • March 1, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Thanks, Margaret!

  5. ucity88
    March 1, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    You don’t know me from a box of grits but…I AM SO, SO PROUD OF YOU!!! 😀 God is good…

    • March 1, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      Thank you! And ain’t God good ALLATAHM??

  6. March 1, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Let Jesus Bantu knot you into the hearts of others. People are paying attention and you, your thoughts, your words, your witticism, are worth the adoration.

    • March 1, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      “Let Jesus Bantu knot you into the hearts of others.” I love you. lolol

  7. March 1, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Congratulations, Luvvie! Mad props to you.

    It just warms my heart to read about the Sister Love. And there was never any doubt that Shonda didn’t know who you ARE.

    Your Scandal Recaps… are to LIVE FOR!

    • March 1, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      Thanks, Ametia!

  8. Denise Johnson
    March 1, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Now you know how I felt when you replied to me! Missing your recaps.

    • March 1, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      What recaps do you miss? I still write my Scandal recaps here.

  9. SIPort
    March 1, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Luvvie,

    that is so amazing. I’m so psyched for you. Not just Lupita but Shonda too.

    All I can say about the selfie with Lupita…damn…her skin really is THAT FLAWLESS!!

    And, Regina King is a shero of mine too.

    You rock, Luvvie!!

  10. notconvincedgranny
    March 1, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Your greatness is cemented in the heavens. Getitgurl.

  11. March 1, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Congrats, Luvvie!! This is so inspiring. I’ve been reading you for such a long time and have seen the work you put in and you so deserve all of this!

    Great to it all manifest!!!

    PS–love love love the dress!
    PPS– Shonda & Lupita?!?! I SCREAM!!!!!! Yes. I would have died and had to have been revived three times in a row if they said that to me.

  12. Jeff J.
    March 1, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    All types of awesome. Congrats Luvvie!

  13. whilome
    March 1, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    You deserve all the awareness, accolades and boo-ships coming to you. So happy for ya! I would say “luccckkky”, but I KNOW dis ain’t luck, this is work and talent paying off.
    Keep doing what you do.

  14. March 1, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    I’d be twirling and singing around like Julie Andrews if I met Shonda and Lupita! This is awesome!

  15. March 1, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Grrl, lemme tell you that I screamed out loud in my office when I saw that pic with Lupita. Folks were looking at me sideways when I started freaking out and showing the picture around. A couple of them know who you are because I’m always reading your blogs and laughing like a maniac at work and I’ve “introduced” y’all. They were also excited for you. 🙂 Congrats sis, and this is only the beginning.

    Also, I woulda TOTALLY plugged my interest in Americanah. Lol! It probably wouldn’t have been cool, but I’m kinda lame, so yeah…

  16. PoetrysTruth
    March 1, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    I promise I’m on this side of my keyboard clapping for you and all of your success. I admire the forum you have created for yourself and the way in which you bring the truth and bring the funk. You are the snatcher of edges and the salve for the smart brown girl soul!

    Congrats!

  17. Desiree
    March 2, 2015 at 3:09 am

    You are amazing! There are no spoilers or surprises with any of these great things coming your way…..you are ALL that like a bag of chips and a 2 liter soda. Your work is inspiring!

  18. March 2, 2015 at 4:50 am

    Luvvie! I love the way you fan-girl, forrealdoe. But, truth be told, you are exceptionally gifted and BELONG to that group of women who inspire such admiration. You are one of them, Babay! Like the bruhs say, “Real recognize real.” This post only proves it. I am so happy for you too. I hope you see your greatness reflected in their acknowledgment.

  19. Vanessa P.
    March 2, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Gon’ girl! You “did” that!

  20. Cherie in the D
    March 2, 2015 at 9:15 am

    Luvvie I am smiling inside and out with you my sista! Keep up the awesome work. Jesus is Lord…..

  21. MzCafe
    March 2, 2015 at 10:36 am

    ***clapping hands & twirling** so excited for you!! Look at God WERK!!!!

  22. Kenyatta Willingham
    March 2, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Congrats chica! Wow. And ummmm scuse me but why are you so gorgeous?!? Soooo jealous of them slanty eyes lol. No if you can just get a carrier pigeon to fly your number to Idris you’ll be allaway in there

    • Kenyatta
      March 2, 2015 at 10:58 am

      *now

  23. JenniferG
    March 2, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Fantastic!!! Getting all weepy about you meeting Lupita and Shonda. Keep being AWESOME!

  24. Cicely
    March 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Congratulations Luvvie!! Your success is well deserved, well earned, and well…just fabulous.

    You looked beautiful as always. Enjoy the memories. Plus can I be you?

  25. March 2, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Luvvie,

    I have been reading your blog for a number of years and this post makes me so very happy for you. You work so hard and you deserve every bit of success that comes your way. I read this with the biggest smile on my face. You are truly awesome! I look forward to seeing the rest of your journey.

  26. March 2, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Not at all surprised that these women embraced you the way they did. Not at all surprised.

  27. March 2, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    I’ve read this three times and it’s still the best ever! Go Luvvie Go!

  28. Michelle
    March 2, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Congrats Luvvie! I’m not surprised they know you and your work. You give life everyday. You and your work deserved that place in the room. Live it and love it girl. P.S. You got to meet Lupita. I am in awe!

  29. Anita
    March 2, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Every post I see you share about this makes me just so happy. Score another one for the universe going the right way!! I love that Essence makes this happen. I love that you were in the right place at the right time doing your thing and everything came together. I LOVE that Lupita and Shonda read your words!!

    Now I feel special because they’re fans and I’m a fan so we have this in common. They can call me and we can start a club. <3

  30. aimee
    March 2, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    My first comment…ever…SO PROUD!!! You make me spit out my coffee on a daily..

  31. MommieDearest
    March 3, 2015 at 7:55 am

    You met Lupita and she knew who you were and took a selfie with you.

    *swoons*

    I am SOOOOOoooooooo living vicariously through you right now.

    I want to adopt both of you.

  32. Candice
    March 3, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    I am so happy and proud of you and for you. Hard work pays off. I have been reading your blog for years and never comment but you deserve all the accolades and props. Well done Luvvie, well done!

  33. March 4, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Beautiful selfies all around! And the fact that many of these awesome ladies knew you already is just perfect. Hope you had a wonderful night!

  34. TheMrs
    March 6, 2015 at 12:07 am

    This brought tears to my eyes! You met Princess Lupita and THE Shonda Rhimes and she was star struck?!?! I love it! So amazing! Congrats to you! God is good!!!

  35. Dee
    March 6, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Luvvie, you deserve all the lovingness shown to you by all here, and, those wondrous women that you met at that spectacular luncheon.

    They simply recognised and acknowledged their super talented peer.

    I am smiling so hard on the inside with joy for you, you don’t even know…!

  36. Nef05
    March 6, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    I came in today looking for the Scandal recap and found this article. Love it! Watching you stride confidently to ascend to your rightful place in the pantheon of exceptional women is truly awesome!

  37. Tara
    March 6, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Why is my face leaking? I am soooo happy for you! I love it! Keep doing your thing making us laugh! #LuvNation

  38. Angela H
    March 9, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    I am extremely EXCITED for you. I saw you post that you will be travelling this great country via Spirit VIP planes, so I was not going to check the site until I saw that you came back and recouped, but I am here and happy for you. So happy, that I am holding back tears as if you are that relative that decided to run away from the family shenanigans, to become a star and you have finally made it. Congrats!! Call me when you get back, we need to catch up (this will be the day).

  39. March 18, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Congratulations, Luvvie! I’m so glad that you had such a lovely time at the luncheon! I think I would’ve died if I’d gone!

  40. Sthabile
    March 19, 2015 at 8:06 am

    You are great, Luvvie. What makes you even greater is your sincere and unabashed humility. To be as talented and hilarious a writer as you are and not go through life thinking you’re the shit, is immensely endearing and it shows, people love you. Stay brilliant. 🙂

  41. […] at least one moment that happens with a celebrity I love that lays me clean out. CLEAN OUT, I SAID. Like last year’s event, when Lupita Nyong’o thanked me for the love letter I wrote her. And the year before then when I […]