*

upload_article_image

Emotional ceremony honors Hall, Stenberg, Layne and Lewis

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.

Angela Bassett attends the 12th Annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard ShotwellInvisionAP)

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.

Regina King attends the 12th Annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard ShotwellInvisionAP)

Kelly Rowland attends the 12th Annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard ShotwellInvisionAP)

Rep. Maxine Waters, D - Calif., attends the 12th Annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard ShotwellInvisionAP)

Tonya Lewis Lee, left, and Spike Lee attend the 12th Annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard ShotwellInvisionAP)