Fantasia Barrino Taylor Sings Gospel During Her Women in Hollywood Speech

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Every year, ELLE brings together the best and brightest women in Hollywood for one special night to honor the impact theyve made in the industry and the work that still needs to be done. Read 2023 Women in Hollywood honoree Fantasia Barrino Taylors speech here.

My highlight of the night: I’m sitting in my chair, and Jodie Foster comes up and says, “Hi, I’m Jodie Foster.” And I said, “Yeah, I know.”

I want to thank my grandmother who gave me the name Fantasia that I hated when I was a kid because they never had the name at the gas stations. You know what I’m talking about? We don’t have…my momma said when I get grown, I’m changing my name. But now I wanna thank her. She’s in heaven now. And I wanna thank her for my name. It’s a great name.

I wanna thank Celie, a role that I read for and when they called me, I said I was not coming back to play. But it wasn’t until our great director Blitz [Bazawule] called me and said, I’m giving Celie an imagination. And I said, “okay, I’m in,” because I was a young lady that went through a lot of things and lost a lot. I lost everything twice.

I never thought I would be back here in front of you. And we all have imaginations when we’re down, and we see ourselves up. When we feel like we can’t bounce back…J.Lo, good God Almighty! You look like a piece of art.

I’m sorry. Because you see, I’m standing here, and I want to speak to all of the Celies in the room tonight who didn’t think they could make it out of certain situations. All of my Black women who felt like you were not pretty enough, you didn’t have what it takes. I love you. Taraji, I’m not gonna look at you because I’m going to cry.

Oprah Winfrey, thank you. You saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself a long time ago, and I know you were just waiting for me to get it right. You were just waiting for me to see it, and I see it now.

I’m going to say, everything that I do, I want to honor my daughter. Zion, you’re my baby. Stand strong for me.

I’m not gonna get up here and talk your head off. I’m just a little country girl from High Point, North Carolina. I can’t believe I’m in this room, but I’m gonna end mine with this: [singing] To God, be the glory. To God, be the glory. To God, be the glory for the things that He has, for my ancestors, He has done.

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