A handful of celebrities including actresses Tichina Arnold and Salli Richardson-Whitfield joined Hearst's affinity group Hearst Black Culture for an Emmys watch party on September 20.
Before the award show began, the group talked about their careers and how to open the door for other Black women.
Stars of the Starz popular series P Valley also joined the watch party, along with fashion designer Kevan Hall and Kevin Frazier from ET.
The next best thing to actually being at a major award show is watching one while talking to celebrities about it from the comfort of your home.
Legendary household names such as actresses Tichina Arnold, Salli Richardson-Whitfield and fashion designer Kevan Hall joined Hearst Black Culture, an affinity group at Oprah Magazine’s parent company, on September 20 for a virtual watch party for the Emmys. Breakout stars from the Starz series P Valley Brandee Evans and Shannon Thornton—along with Kevin Frazier from Entertainment TV—dropped in to add to the full night of banter and gem dropping.
If you’re thinking that this sounds like an eclectic mix, you might be right. But all who participated got along like old friends—and maybe a little help from the two cocktails during the happy hour before the show, sponsored by Rémy Cointreau.
“We’re humbled and we’re honored to be here to be a part of this,” Arnold said on behalf of herself and Richardson-Whitfield. “What I’m inspired right now is seeing all of these beautiful Black faces on my screen right now.”
Arnold, who is best known for her starring roles in sitcoms like Martin and Everybody Hates Chris, and Richardson-Whitfield—an actress turned director—have both stood the test of time in the entertainment industry and as long-time friends. Since the time when they each started in their career, they shared their experiences about what it was like there, and what’s needed from Black people today in every industry.
“We have to be responsible for what we have started and what we have done. You know, we’ve worked for no money. Right? We laid a path as best as we can without even knowing that we were laying that path,” Arnold said.
In an industry that is truly a business, lasting long enough in itself makes room for others in their careers. Namely, for up-and-coming actresses. The gritty and tantalizing drama based on a Mississippi strip club P Valley, which premiered July 2020, has only aired its first season but has grown wildly popular.
“It’s overwhelming,” Evans, who plays Mercedes on the show, said about the series' success to the group. “We are looking and standing on the shoulders of people like you and Salli and all of our other amazing actresses that we look up to,” she said to Arnold.
“I’m proud to be able to represent with my natural hair on this show, and to have a show runner like Katouri Hall who, when episode two came, I said, ‘Can I be myself naturally?’ and she said, ‘Hell yes.’”
“That’s something that Salli and I never experienced,” Arnold responded. “You and Shannon are in an era where you can really be who you are and get paid for it.”
For entertainers and non-entertainers alike, the evening was full of insight from the actors on-and-off the screen—and for Black women in particular. After the virtual cocktails, the celebrities of the group asked and answered questions from the group, participated in a round of card game Black Card Revoked and rooted for all the winners—but especially for everybody Black.
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