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Issa Rae will receive the distinguished Equity in Entertainment Award at the breakfast, which will be attended by 750 of the leading women in entertainment.
In addition, more than $1 million in university scholarships will be presented to high school seniors from underserved communities across Los Angeles. These seniors all have taken part in THR’s acclaimed Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program.
The gala coincides with the release of THR’s annual Women in Entertainment issue of the magazine (on newsstands Dec. 7), which highlights the Power 100, the leading female executives in entertainment.
Theron is the latest recipient of the Lansing Award, which recognizes trailblazers and philanthropists. The award was established in honor of the former CEO of Paramount Pictures — and the first woman to head a Hollywood studio. Previous recipients include Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Viola Davis, Jennifer Lawrence, Tina Fey, Barbra Streisand, Shonda Rhimes, Oprah Winfrey, Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Halle Berry, Jodie Foster, Glenn Close and Barbara Walters.
“Charlize Theron is a generational talent: A brilliant actress, a thoughtful producer and a philanthropist who is the very definition of a change-maker,” THR editorial director Nekesa Mumbi Moody said. “As someone who has been an activist for change in the industry, she embodies the very spirit of the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award.”
Added Lansing: “I couldn’t be more excited to honor Charlize at The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment breakfast. While her illustrious career speaks for itself, she also deserves to be recognized as a tireless philanthropist, a U.N. Messenger of Peace, and a role model for so many. The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project has advanced and invested in the health, education, and safety of countless young people in southern Africa.”
Through her Denver & Delilah banner, Theron, alongside partners Beth Kono and A.J. Dix, has built a production company with a diverse film and television slate. Denver & Delilah’s feature credits include Lionsgate’s Bombshell, which earned several Oscar noms; Monster, for which Theron won an Oscar for best actress; and Young Adult and Tully, each of which landed Theron a Golden Globe nomination. They recently wrapped shooting the sequel The Old Guard: Force Multiplied.
The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project supports transformative, locally led change by partnering with community-based organizations that support young people, their sexual and reproductive health and rights (including staying safe from HIV), and the prevention of gender-based violence. With the help of CARE and Entertainment Industry Foundation, Theron and CTAOP launched “Together for Her” — a campaign to help fight gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, CTAOP partnered with the Ford Foundation around a global vaccine equity campaign.
Meanwhile, Rae joins previous recipients of the Equity in Entertainment Award including Ryan Murphy, Amy Pascal, Nina Jacobson and Selma Blair. The award, created in 2016, recognizes individuals who amplify the voices of underrepresented communities in the entertainment industry.
“We are equally as excited to present Issa Rae with our Equity in Entertainment Award,” said Mumbi Moody. “From her beginning days with Awkward Black Girl to her groundbreaking and hilarious Insecure to her latest creation Rap Sh!t, Issa Rae has been instrumental in expanding Hollywood’s too-often narrow view of Black lives. She has also provided the platform and pipeline for a plethora of talent both in front of and behind the scenes. An innovative, multifaceted artist, Rae’s forward-thinking vision makes her the perfect honoree for THR’s Equity in Entertainment Award.”
Rae is the author of the New York Times best-seller The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and creator and star of the HBO series Insecure, which garnered her multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Rae’s production company, HOORAE, is breaking boundaries in storytelling and representation across film, TV, music and digital by creating series such as A Black Lady Sketch Show, Sweet Life and Rap Sh!t.
Rae also celebrates Black Angelenos and creates job opportunities through investments in her childhood neighborhood of South L.A., including support of Destination Crenshaw and ownership of the Hilltop Café + Kitchen.
The Women in Entertainment breakfast will also be attended by the 40 young women currently taking part in the WIE Mentorship Program. Each year, the program pairs 20 high school juniors with some of the top women in film and TV. Mentors have included Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke, Imax Entertainment president Megan Colligan, Netflix global TV head Bela Bajaria and Disney General Entertainment Content chairman Dana Walden.
The WIE Mentorship Program, which is about to celebrate its 13th year, has had more than 250 girls and 250 mentors participate, with the mentees going on to universities including Harvard, UC Berkeley and Northwestern, supported by more than $12 million that THR has raised in scholarships.
Women in Entertainment is presented by Lifetime, which has contributed more than $1 million in support of the program over the past seven years. The event is also sponsored by eOne and SAG-AFTRA, and in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles, Chapman University, Loyola Marymount University and College Access Partnership.
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