Jenifer Lewis urged people to “be loud in your bravery” as she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The 65-year-old screen veteran said she wants to use her platform to “educate and inspire” at Friday’s ceremony in Los Angeles.
The actress, unofficially known as “The Mother of Black Hollywood,” has appeared in more than 400 episodic television shows, 68 films, 40 animations, and four Broadway productions.
Lewis was presented with the award by US composer Marc Shaiman and actress Debbie Allen, who praised her for her all-round talent.
During her acceptance speech, she thanked fans for pushing to honor her on the Walk of Fame, but spoke openly about her battle with bipolar disorder.
These are not dark times…these are awakening times. All of us… need to be brave, we need to be brave, and we need to be loud in that bravery.Jennifer Lewis
“Here I am, a black girl from a small town called Kinloch, Missouri, and I am set in stone, right next to Katharine Hepburn,” she said.
“I assure you, that was tremendous…because she was a champion of women’s rights. She was the first actress to wear pants.
“Now I’m trying to use my platform like Katharine Hepburn did to educate and inspire.”
She continued, “These are not dark times… these are times of awakening.
“All of us… need to be brave, we need to be brave, and we need to be loud in that bravery.”
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Among those who supported Lewis were actress Vanessa Bayer, singer Brandy Norwood, DJ Shangela Pierce, as well as several of her siblings and numerous members of the public.
Addressing her fans, she said, “I want to thank everyone who has been putting out these comments, things like ‘it’s long overdue’… ‘well deserved’… and my favorite ‘it’s about damn time’.
“But what you don’t know, I just wasn’t ready. Because I didn’t do the actual work. The real work took place backstage and behind the camera.
“When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I somehow found the strength and courage to say three of the most powerful words in the English language: I need help.
“So I went and got it. I don’t want to bore you with details…read my book.”
I love life, I love that I can do what I love to do with my life and I know I’m one of the lucky ones. Not everyone comes to it.Jennifer Lewis
She added: “You all, I love life, I love that I have to do what I love to do with my life and I know I’m one of the lucky ones.
“Not everyone can do that”
Lewis was born in Missouri on January 25 and is the youngest of seven children.
She began singing in her church choir at the age of five.
After college, she accepted a role as a backing singer for Bette Midler, which led to her first television appearances on Midler’s HBO specials.
Lewis starred on ABC’s Black-ish as the hilarious grandmother Ruby Johnson for eight seasons, as well as other well-known US shows including The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, Friends, Cast Away, Rugrats and American Dad.
She is currently starring alongside Bayer in the new hit series I Love That For You.
Her autobiography, The Mother Of Black Hollywood, became a chart-topping national bestseller in 2017, and her follow-up book, Walking In My Joy: In These Streets, is due out August 30.
The star of the actress is 2,726. Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
It is dedicated to the TV category and is located at 6284 Hollywood Boulevard.
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/jenifer-lewis-urges-fans-to-be-loud-in-their-braveness-at-walk-of-fame-ceremony-41843798.html Jenifer Lewis urges fans to ‘be loud in their bravery’ at Walk of Fame ceremony