BEVERLY HILLS, Calif | Emotional ceremony honors Hall, Stenberg, Layne and Lewis

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Amandla Stenberg brought the audience to their feet as she talked of being protected by ancestors.
Kiki Layne evoked tears as she talked about having the comfort of black women during an exciting but “terrifying” time.

Regina Hall kept people in stitches as she cracked jokes and celebrated her longevity in Hollywood.

And Jenifer Lewis commanded everyone to honor those who came before them— while seemingly alluding to the arrest of Jussie Smollett for allegedly concocting a hoax about being attacked.

The actresses honored by Essence at the Black Women in Hollywood luncheon all riveted the room, albeit for different reasons, in front of a crowd that included Angela Bassett, Oscar-nominees Regina King and Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay, Diddy, Maxine Waters, Anita Hill and a host of other luminaries.

By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY ,   Associated Press