Debbie Allen took home one of the highest honors of the evening. The five-time Emmy award winner accepted the Governor’s Award for her achievements on television and stage. Known for her lengthy resume as a director on multiple shows like A Different World, Everybody Hates Chris and Grey’s Anatomy, where she also stars, she became emotional as she accepted the award and celebrated those she brought with her.
“It’s taken a lot of courage to be the only woman in the room a lot of times,” said Allen, 71, as she wiped away tears. “A lot of courage and creativity and fight and faith to believe that I could keep going. And I have and I brought a lot of people with me.”
On hand to celebrate the occasion both in person and virtually were Grey’s Anatomy stars Jesse Williams and Ellen Pompeo, Ava DuVernay, Jada Pinkett Smith, Gayle King, Michael Douglas and Dolly Parton.
Allen is also the recipient of a Tony award, multiple NAACP Image Awards and a Golden Globe and is the founder of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. She went on to thank fellow producer Shonda Rhimes, the late NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, legendary music empresario Quincy Jones and her family – including her husband Norm Nixon.
Before leaving the stage, she imparted an important message for the future and for women: “Let this moment resonate with women across this country and around the world. From Texas to Afghanistan. Let them know.
“And also with young people who have no vote, who can’t even get a vaccine, they’re inheriting the world that we leave them,” she continued. “It’s time for you to claim your power, claim your voice, sing your song, tell your story. It will make us a better place. Your turn.”