Posted by | Cyrena Rose

In celebration of an epic year at the movies ESSENCE magazine is giving its readers a collector’s issue!

Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael B. Jordan are in their red carpet best for the cover of the mag’s Black Hollywood Now portfolio.  In the feature, each actor discusses their craft and how they got into character for their powerful roles from 2013.

How was Oprah told to make her role as Gloria Gaines in Lee Daniels’ The Butler more sexy?

“I don’t think of myself as being sexy and I’m not even sure how one is sexy,” she admits. Her acting coach instructed her: “Every time Gloria walks, pretend that she has a tail. And when Gloria sits down, she doesn’t sit without making sure there’s room for her tail.”

Why did Chiwetel push himself to the limit for his role in 12 Years a Slave?

 “Even though there were emotional moments to shoot, overall I think every member of the cast and crew was there for one reason: They felt it was a tale that deserved to be told.”


The special Black Hollywood Now portfolio also features actors who played pivotal roles in the Civil Rights Movement and the 75 movers and shakers in the film industry right now (including ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood honorees Lupita Nyong’o, Ava DuVernay and Cheryl Boone Isaacs!)

Pick up your copy of the March issue of ESSENCE, on newsstands February 10.