Posted by | Ray Cornelius

ESSENCE is putting a spotlight on four television stars whose faces we’ll being seeing a lot of come this fall. The iconic magazine is embracing all forms of Black beauty as well as Hollywood’s current infatuation with African-American actresses. Popular shows such as Scandal  and Being Mary Jane  have ushered in sort of a ‘golden age’ of strong, black female leads and ESSENCE is joining in on the conversation. Gracing the cover for the October issue is State of Affairs star  and movie veteran, Alfre Woodard, Sleepy Hollow’s  Nicole Behari, Walking Dead’s  Danai Gurira and Orange is the New Black  star Laverne Cox.

INSIDE ESSENCE“It is a golden age,” explains Gurira, who plays a fierce zombie slayer, “because we’re allowed to see that more people are given a voice, and that is a beautiful thing. We know when there’s been a dearth of this type of diversity. I remember watching Orange and feeling as if something new was happening.”

Cox, who made history this year as the first transgendered person ever to cover TIME, agrees with Gurira regarding TV’s evolution. This new celebration of diversity has afforded her the opportunity to work now more than ever.

“People are watching television in a different way,” adds Cox, who was nominated by the Emmys for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. “I’ve been acting for a very long time and not getting very far, and I would say we needed some sort of systemic revolutionary change for me to have an acting career.”

ESSENCE featuring the four actresses will hit newsstands on September 5th.