(Photo by Arnold Turner/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

Exclusive: Gail Bean, Jerrie Johnson, Larenz Tate And More Share How Black Women Can Feel More Protected In Hollywood [Video]

Essence held its 16th annual Black Women in Hollywood Awards at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon, celebrating the contributions of Black women in film and television, both past and present.

Hosted by Boris Kodjoe, the ceremony recognized the extraordinary achievements of the industry’s most inspiring Black women who are helping diverse Black stories to be told. Essence marked the occasion by highlighting the women in front and behind the camera of “The Black Cinematic Universe.”

Sheryl Lee Ralph was among the four honorees of the evening, including Danielle Deadwyler, Dominique Thorne, Tara Duncan, and Gina Prince-Bythewood.

Black excellence graced the white carpet, stunting in the latest fashion trends and celebrating how far Black women have come to gain respect and protection in the entertainment industry.

Although the industry has come a long way in supporting Black women, there’s always room for improvement. In an exclusive interview with Baller Alert, Larenz Tate, Jerrie Johnson, Gail Bean, and more, shared how the industry can work together to enhance the protection of Black women.

“In order to take care of Black women, you need to give us resources,” Johnson stated. “We’re already behind, so we’re working off a lack. We need resources.”

The Harlem star also acknowledged the Amazon team for ensuring she felt appreciated while working on the hit show. “My time with them has been truly amazing. They care. In hard moments — when it has nothing to do with the show — they have stepped up to take care. And I think that’s how we do it.”

Snowfall actress Gail Bean said events like Essence Black Women in Hollowood help “improve” how black women are supported. “One of the things that should happen is more transparency, more support, more encouragement, tougher conversations, and more events like this,” Bean shared. “We need more love so we can feel that people want us there. And if we do come, they will protect and support us.”

Larenz Tate expressed how black men are essential in ensuring black women have that security and how their support is necessary. “Black men in the industry have to be right there beside sistas every step of the way as much as we possibly can when it’s necessary. But even when it’s not necessary. I’m all about protecting.”

Tate concluded his statement by stating the importance of Black women making crucial decisions in front and behind the camera. “The representation needs to be there, and their voices need to be heard. We must ensure the sistas make those decisions in the important places.”

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