Zendaya, Michaela Coel honored at Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards

Zendaya was among the honorees at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
1 of 5 | Zendaya was among the honorees at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

April 23 (UPI) -- Singer and actress Zendaya and actress Michaela Coel were honored Thursday at the 2021 Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards.

Actresses Cynthia Erivo, Andra Day and Whoopi Goldberg were among the other honorees at the event, which recognizes Black creatives for their contributions to Hollywood and global culture.


This year's theme, "Mastering Our Stories," focused on the resiliency of Black women in Hollywood through the years -- including during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zendaya, who plays Rue Bennett on the HBO series Euphoria and MJ in Spider-Man: Homecoming and other movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, thanked other Black women in her acceptance speech.

"You're a constant motivation and inspiration to me everyday," the star said. "When I see that you can do it, I feel like I can too, and that is a huge, huge thing to say. So thank you.


I just want to continue to watch you all shine and be amazing. I hope to always be in your corner and support you through all of that," she added.


Coel, a British actress who is the writer, creator and star of the BBC One and HBO series I Will Destroy You, thanked Issa Rae, Janelle Monáe and other Black women for welcoming her to Hollywood with open arms.

Coel recalled how she once dropped everything and flew to see Monáe after the singer invited her to a private, friends-only screening of Dirty Computer.

"I decided not to tell her that I actually wasn't in Hollywood so I couldn't swing by. I instead found a flight, booked a one-way ticket and went straight from the airport to the movie theater," Coel said.


In addition, Day, who plays blues singer Billie Holiday in the film The United States vs. Billie Holiday, performed Holiday's song "God Bless the Child."


The celebration will continue Friday with Essence Hollywood House, a series of discussions with Black creatives from TV and films, including Bridgerton and Insecure. The event will air on

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