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Essence's 5th Annual Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon: Kerry Washington, Octavia Spencer, Paula Patton And More!

Huffington Post    
First Posted: 02/24/2012 8:51 am Updated: 02/24/2012 9:47 am

A handful of the biggest and brightest stars were honored yesterday at Essence magazine's 5th annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon yesterday in Beverly Hills.

Leading ladies Kerry Washington, Paula Patton, Octavia Spencer and Pam Grier, along with executive producer and screenwriter Shonda Rhimes were selected as this year's honorees.

"The luncheon exists to provide a fitting tribute to the brilliant talent and accomplishments of African-American trailblazers like Kerry, Pam, Paula, Octavia, and Shonda, and celebrate their collective work as an inspiration for generations to come," says Constance White, Essence's editor-in-chief.

The pre-Oscars celebration is also another opportunity to get gussied up before the big show on Sunday. Stars showed up in a variety of fabulous outfits, but winter-white was the runaway hit.

"Scandal" actress Kerry Washington and Essence's march cover girl wore a white structured peplum skirt suit by Cushnie et Ochs. She added color with crimson Brian Atwood pumps and Kate Spade's whimsical "Magazine" clutch.

Patton redeemed herself from her fashion-fail earlier this week in a sexy white Marchesa dress paired with silver pumps.

Spencer spiced up her crisp white blouse with a leopard print pencil skirt and sassy purple Nine West heels.

Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis stepped out in a figure-flattering ivory Victoria Beckham dress and showed off her natural 'do, which we absolutely loved in her recent cover shoot for the LA Times magazine.

Davis told Essence's red carpet commentator Tanika Ray that she hasn't felt brave enough, until recently, to rock her natural tresses. "The Help" star added that her husband, actor Julius Tennon, told her to “step into who I am.”

And we're glad he did--she looks amazing!

The tragic death of Whitney Houston was still heavy on the hearts of attendees. Jordin Sparks, dressed in dazzling LBD, was asked to perform a tribute to Houston. The two starred in the upcoming film "Sparkle," so Sparks sang "Look Into Your Heart" from the film's soundtrack to honor the late legend.

Check out photos from the star-studded event below and let us know who you think looked best!

Kerry Washington
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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 23: Actress Kerry Washington attends the 5th Annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel on February 23, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)


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