Essence of Jenifer


Last week, I accompanied Jenifer Lewis to the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards.  When asked how she felt, Jenifer said, “Well, I’m honored.  I’m honored to be honored.”  Now, who else could pull that off?  Her award was presented by original Dreamgirls Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine, along with Jenifer’s daughter Charmaine.  The other honorees were Regina HallKiKi Layne, and Amandla Stenberg.  Some of the people in attendance were my dear Sherri ShepherdAngela BassettIyanla VanzantCCH PounderRegina KingSpike LeeBilly Porter, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and even Puff Daddy (who I was sitting next to).  The event was hosted by Kelly Rowland, who remembered me from hosting LA Pride.  How did this little white boy from Boston, Massachusetts end up in the middle of a gala event celebrating Black women?  Dare to dream.

Despite the wattage of the room, Jenifer managed to weave her unique magic, steal the show, and touch upon a story we covered earlier.  “I was asked on the carpet so many times, ‘What do you think, Miss Lewis?’  I have no comment.  Today is a day to celebrate.  But this is what you will be hearing tomorrow.”  She then sang her latest song.  “Before you lie to us, remember Rosa sat on that bus.  Before you tell your tale, remember Mandela sat in that jail.  Before you do anything, remember Dr. Martin Luther King.  Before you connive and steal, I dare you to Google Emmett Till.  Before another dawn, and I speak to everyone, remember whose shoulders you stand on.”

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