Honored this year were Some Like It Hot star and 2023 Tony nominee NaTasha Yvette Williams, who received the Audra McDonald Legacy Award; SIX The Musical and Little Shop of Horrors' Joy Woods, who received the Florence Mills Shining Star Award; and wig designer Nikiya Mathis, who received the Kathy A. Perkins Behind the Curtain Award.
Black Women on Broadway was founded by Brooks, Iman, and Bioh in 2020 as an effort to provide Black women in the theatre creative guidance and mentorship during the pandemic, when many in the community were feeling lost. The project has since expanded to include the Black Women on Broadway Awards—this year's ceremony was the awards' second.
Brooks recently told Playbill that 2022's awards were one of the more emotional evenings of which she's been a part. "The one thing that we know for sure is there's only so many positions for us, only so many stories that really center Black women," said Brooks. "Most of the time we are fighting for the same roles, the same positions. This space is reminding us that we're in it together. I specifically think about the sisters that are the only ones in their shows. I think about Brittney [Johnson, the first Black Glinda in Wicked on Broadway], or Emilie Kouatchou [the first and only full-time Black Christine in Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera]. This space that we're creating is reminding Black women that we're not alone. It's this camaraderie that we get to share together, and in celebration instead of exclusivity."
And, Brooks knows that this is important on both sides of the curtain, which is why Black Women on Broadway is committed to being equitable between actors and non-actors. "We have ambassadors, four to five young women that are in college who help put this event together," Brooks explained. "Not only do they get to learn firsthand how Jocelyn and myself and Amber are producing this, but they also get to be surrounded by women that they aspire to be, like Audra McDonald, like LaChanze, like NaTasha Yvette Williams. They get to be in that room with these women and get to learn from them and be inspired by them. That's what it's about."