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The pre-Oscar whirl continued Thursday with the fourth annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, which brought out big name celebrities to support honorees Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Viola Davis and Loretta Devine at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

 

Kerry Washington, Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker, Tia and Tamara Mowry, Brandy Norwood, Serena Williams, Neicy Nash, Tatyana Ali, Kimora Lee Simmons, Lauren London and Gabrielle Union all stepped out to support the honorees.

 

“This is my favorite event every single year because I get to see my role models,” said Tatyana Ali. “I cry, everybody cries, it’s incredible.”

 

Honoree Jennifer Hudson arrived in a fitted purple dress that showed off her slim physique, holding her 18-month-old son. Viola Davis took time off from filming her current project, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” with Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, to be honored.

 

“You go to a lot of events this time of year but some are just more meaningful than others, and this is meaningful, it moves me,” said Davis. “Being honored is a confirmation that I have done well, that I have achieved my dream.”

 

Loretta Devine, also honored, was feeling the love.

 

“I’m overwhelmed, my heart is full, I have to make myself not cry about it,” Devine said. “It’s just great. I’ve been reading Essence magazine all my life it’s an award for (the film) ‘For Colored Girls,’ which I am so endeared about and so it means everything.”

 

The lunch began with a spoken word performance by Jill Scott then a standing ovation for the four honorees. The message of support and love was clear from guests.

 

“In popular culture the images that are in our face are the ones from reality television where we are watching black women tear each other down, and scratch each others’ eyes out,” said Union. “It’s important for all of us to be here to show the love that we have for one another, to be supportive.”

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