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Selma Blair brought a packed ballroom to their feet Wednesday when she was honored with the Equity in Entertainment award at The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment gala presented by Lifetime, held at the Fairmont Century City hotel.
Blair, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in August of 2018, has become an advocate for the rights and dignity of people with disabilities, and she spoke to the importance of visibility in Hollywood.
“By creating more inclusive content, by telling stories that more authentically represent and include all of us, by being allies in our workspace by setting the bar higher for accessibility standards, by living and working in the intersectionality of our collective human experience, we become worthy of the enormous access and influence we have,” she told a Hollywood audience that included THR cover star Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Garner, Tessa Thompson, Molly Shannon and Nikole Hannah-Jones at the event, which celebrates THR‘s WIE Power 100 list.
Blair is featured in the documentary Introducing, Selma Blair, which shows her struggles dealing with MS as a mother and actress, and she asked the audience to embrace telling stories from different perspectives.
“My story is but one of many. Disability is not a distant monolith,” said Blair. “It is an intractable part of our shared humanity. Everyone in this room knows the power of entertainment to create a sense of community. And it is our responsibility, those of us in this room, to do so.”
Blair delivered her remarks with passion, moving several members of the audience to tears by her speech.
“So, seek out the other stories. Take the phone calls,” she urged. “Hire other disabled people in front of and behind the camera. Not because it is the right thing to do, although it is, but because you and whatever project you are working on, will be better for having done so.”
Blair was introduced by Michelle Pfeiffer, a personal friend, who grew close to the actress during the pandemic.
“The fortitude with which she has faced MS is nothing short of heroic,” said Pfeiffer in her introduction. “And she is the kind of hero very much needed right now, and not only for the MS community. She is completely transparent with the challenges and heartbreak of this disease and speaks to her struggle and successes like a poet. She brings a depth of compassion that we are all inspired by and is a much-needed example of how social media can and should be used — as a tool for connection, inspiration and healing.”
Blair closed her remarks by saying, “It is the honor of my life to stand before you today and accept this award on behalf of all the women who won’t have movies made about them but whose stories are important, whose lives are vital.”
The Women in Entertainment event, which was held in compliance with local health and safety guidelines, was sponsored by Cadillac, FIJI Water, Amazon Ads, SAG-AFTRA, eOne and Gersh in partnership with Chapman University, Loyola Marymount University and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles.
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