Celebrating the African Diaspora in one room with Hollywood’s elite is the kind of event you don’t want to miss! On March 8, ICON MANN hosted the 2023 Awards Salute: Reimagining African Diasporic Narratives, a ceremony where they honored stars like Gina Prince-Bythewood, Dr. Uzodinma Iweala, and Reginald Hudlin for their efforts in television, film and philanthropy, respectively.
ICON MANN describes itself as a “heritage media, production, and management consultancy committed to positively transforming African Diasporic dialogue and imaging through content, community, and connection.” The renowned agency aims to foster a global network that will magnify legacy, narrative, and inclusive representation in an authentic way.
In honor of Women’s History Month, REVOLT spoke with a few attendees who all shared one thing they never want Black women to forget and, out of all the women in Hollywood, whose biopic is long overdue. Get into the exclusive conversation featuring Crystal Renee Hayslett, Tristan Wilds and more famous faces below.
1. Ernie Hudson
“I can’t say it’s long overdue because she’s getting a lot of recognition, but Viola Davis,” the veteran actor stated. “She’s changed the imagery and challenged our perceptions of ourselves, forcing us to create a sense of honesty and integrity. I’m excited to see her inspire other women like herself to know it’s possible. I want Black women to know [we] — as in all of us — would not be without the hard work and dedication they have put in. We got here because of the women — my grandmother has given me a sense of who I am, and had integrity and dignity that doesn’t allow me to do less. Anytime I think to get a bit crazy, she might disapprove. If we go back far enough in our history, women have always been a force and have been there. For so long, people have tried to deny it because we want to make it look like it’s someone else running [the show], but it’s time for women to get the recognition and respect they deserve because they’ve been caring for us for a long time.”
2. Jimmy Akingbola
“Cicely Tyson should have a biopic. I could keep going and say Angela Bassett, as her journey has been fascinating, especially with the films What’s Love Got to Do with It and How Stella Got Her Groove Back… to what she’s doing now. It’s fascinating to see the great works she’s done, but there’s a version of how Hollywood almost didn’t let her be the Cate Blanchett of her time. She is to us, but universally, they are beginning to see it. I want Black women never to forget they are enough, beautiful, our leaders, and we love you,” the “Bel-Air” star told REVOLT.
3. Amber Riley
“Angela Bassett‘s biopic is long overdue, and I want to know more. I want to know her journey to who she is and the story of What’s Love Got to Do with It. I want to see somebody play her in these dance rehearsals, stripping down and turning into Tina. I want Black women never to forget that you are the blueprint — they copy you, so anybody trying to make you feel like you’re not enough, they are some haters because they want to be you, sis,” Riley quipped.
4. Crystal Renee Hayslett
“That’s a good question, and you come out strong with the questions. I would say Phylicia Rashad — she’s been in the game since we were children and still doing it. Knowing her story would be really cool, and I know she has much to talk about. In this society, I never want Black women to forget they are the standard — a lot of the time, we don’t see ourselves or reflections of ourselves on billboards or different markets, but if you look, there are so many reflections of us. We are the standard, and don’t ever forget that,” Hayslett responded.
5. Tristan Wilds
“There’s way too many to choose from, and we have many iconic women displayed on film,” Wilds began. “I would want to see something about Lola Falana — I was speaking with someone about her. I like Black women who never forget how powerful and beautiful they are. They say water is the softest but stiffest material on Earth — it can be gentle on your skin and cut through your skin. I feel like Black women are precisely the same way… They are soft when they need to be and strong, hard, and durable as well, and never forget either side. You don’t always have to be soft; you don’t always have to be complicated — be like water, as Bruce Lee says.”
6. Gina Prince-Bythewood
“If you read Viola Davis’ book, ‘Finding Me,’ you’ll understand where she came from, how she’s humming at another level, and how she achieved that and [she’s] great. I would watch that, and she could be herself. I never want Black women to forget who we are, what we are capable of, and the sisterhood no matter where we are from because we are Black women first,” Prince-Bythewood told REVOLT.
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