Since its inception, EBONY's Power 100 extravaganza has always been an opportunity to both celebrate and champion the Black community. Bringing together some of the most influential Black voices from across a multitude of fields and industries under one roof, it's hard not to get inspired throughout the evening. While the ceremony itself is filled with moments of reflection and homage, the messages of empowerment began the moment attendees arrived at the venue. Touching on a variety of subjects, from using their talents and craft as vessels of truth to striving to be a beacon for the rising generation, those who hit the red carpet knew how to bring a good and uplifting word.
Though red carpets are traditional runways for the most fashionable looks of the evening, it was also a space to drop gems and spread knowledge. Here are a few of the most memorable quotes from Black Hollywood notables who went down EBONY's Power 100 red carpet.
"[Through Black Panther] we saw ourselves in ways that we would have never imagined. We saw ourselves beautiful, glorious, wonderful because that’s exactly who we are," says actress Letitia Wright. "They always said that we wouldn’t reach, that our stories couldn’t reach and our stories were so limited, but boy were they wrong."
"There has always been somebody already telling our story. Usually they are from outside of our community and they don't realize that the way they tell that story has a direct impact on the health of our community," shared the actor and activist Kendrick Sampson. "Sometimes, it leads to direct violence on our community. So when people from outside misinterpret and miscommunicate our culture and our story, it has real, everyday consequences. So it's important for us to have spaces of autonomy over our culture where we can infuse it with that authenticity. We need to infuse it with the things that we need most and that we know are most important to us which will lead to healthy stories and healthy narratives out there about us, so that we have more agency over what the impact directly leaves."
"There is 'Black success' and there is mainstream success. Mainstream success is very fickle. It's very fleeting. What I've noticed is that Black people hold you down just like a family member. They may criticize you but they never throw you away," says media personality and fashion designer Nina Parker. "As we've seen in the last week with folks who maybe should have been canceled long ago. Black folks will say, 'We don't hold them and we'll pray for them. I wish the best for them.' So it's really important to support events like this, just like anything else. There are a lot of Black folks who are famous in our households for many years before everybody else caught up to them. So it's important to continue to support people when you get there."
"Promoting representation is what I always strive to do. I feel like when I was growing up, I didn't see a broad variety of Black actors. Obviously we had Will, Denzel and Martin, Living Single," shares actor Jay Ellis. "However, I feel that if you take a step back and look at the breadth and the diversity of stories and characters that were on television at the time, we didn't get to do a lot. For me, I am always cognizant for every role I take—whether it's producing, acting or directing, I want to make sure you see all of us and not just a few depictions."
"People pushed the needle in regard to what 'moving Black forward' was for me. I was inspired and believed that I could do the same for others," shares EBONY's August 2022 cover star Bianca Lawson. "It's crucial that we continue passing the torch forward so that younger generations can follow by example. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up with accepting small moments of representation but we can have greater and fuller moments, too."
"Let me tell you, there are little girls that are waiting for our story so that they can then create their own stories," shares actress Garcelle Beauvais. "When we don't tell ours, they have nothing to aspire to. It's necessary for us to keep talking, to keep sharing and to keep shouting out each other. We need to do all of it."
"At pretty much every event that I probably go to, I'm definitely the youngest—that is a feat in itself," shares 2022 EBONY Power 100 Generation Next awardee actor Jalyn Hall. "I'm really hoping that through my example and the stories that I'm able to tell—especially Emmett Till's story—the younger community is inspired to want to do great things."