By Jamila Bey
Jenifer Lewis, actress, comedienne, singer, author and national treasure has been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Additionally, the Los Angeles City Council declared July 15, 2022 as Jennifer Lewis Day in the city.
Lewis fans Brandy Norwood, Roz Ryan, Kiki Shepard and former World Figure Skating Champion and Olympian, Tai Babilonia, and others were on hand at the ceremony as well.
Multi-hyphenate director, producer and 2020 Kennedy Center Honoree, Debbie Allen told the crowd that “She is a star!” Allen praised her friend saying, “We can only think of what all is yet to come, because Jenifer Lewis is still in the making!”
Lewis, who has appeared in more than 400 episodic television shows, 68 movies, 40 animated programs, and four Broadway shows, took a moment to let her fans share their favorite roles. Lewis and the audience hilariously enjoyed a call and response moment when she asked, “Who’s mama did I play?” Tupac, Whitney Houston, Kadeem Hardison and “everybody else,” were the top replies.
Lewis used the occasion to speak about her mental health struggles, and told her fans, “I love that I got to do what I love to do with my life. And I know that I’m one of the lucky ones!”
Calling herself “A little colored girl from Kinloch, Missouri,” Lewis reveled that “I will be etched in stone right next to Katherine Hepburn!”
Ever the performer, Lewis admonished that “These are not dark times! They are awakened times!” Then she led a sing-off with Roz Ryan and Brandy as her backup singers, of her viral song, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That.” She ended her remarks with a touching rendition of Shirley Horn’s “Here’s To Life,” interrupting herself to declare, “Damn I’m good!”
Her autobiography, The Mother of Black Hollywood, published in 2017 was national best-seller, and will be followed by her next tome, Walking in My Joy: In These Streets, set to be released on August 30th.
In April, The International Press Academy presented her with the 2022 Honorary Satellite Award for her career contributions to the entertainment industry and her various charitable endeavors including: The Human Rights Campaign, The Los Angeles LGBT Center, The Coalition for At-Risk Youth, The Urban League, The EWOC Foundation: Exceptional Women of Color, and Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS.