Jenifer Lewis, best known for starring in eight seasons of the hit ABC sitcom “Black-ish,” received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Friday.
The plaque sits next to the late screen legend Katherine Hepburn, who was always one of her favorite actresses.
“I hung up on them when they initially offered to sit next to a rapper,” the 65-year-old entertainment veteran joked to The Daily News. “I was right next to Katharine Hepburn. Very fitting. She’s a rebel, she was ahead of her time. I’m so honored, it’s amazing.”
Lewis also requested that the event take place on July 15, a day known as “Jackie Washington Day” to the ardent fan base of her TV movie “Jackie Returns.”
This 1999 mock documentary is the former Broadway actor and New York City cabaret star’s first lead role. In the star-studded slapstick comedy, she portrays a knocked-out child star on her way back.
When asked if the timing of the star’s unveiling event was a coincidence, Lewis said: “I plan like b and am happy to do it.”
“I’m glad I didn’t get this before because I didn’t feel it was worth it,” she said of the honor. “You know people who used to say to me, ‘You’ve never worked a day in your life,’ and I was like, ‘Wow? But they were right, I’ve never worked, I’ve played in my life and showed up “I’m an entertainer, that’s who I am. Those who call me an actor, they can call me whatever they want, but I’m an entertainer first.”
At Friday’s event, Lewis expressed gratitude and fun memories in a flowy lime-grey suit.
“The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a cultural treasure,” she said from the podium. “People all over the world came to see the stars. I did it. This was my first place in Los Angeles. … So here I am, a little black girl from the small town of Kinloch, Missouri, I will be inscribed in stone.”
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Six-time Emmy-winning choreographer and director Debbie Allen spoke on behalf of her longtime friend, calling her “dear sister.”
“Jennifer Lewis has always been a star,” she said in her speech, adding that “things happen in their own time.
“Things will happen the way they should. This moment is a great moment for all of us to share with Jennifer, and she is joining the ranks of her name that has left an indelible mark on generations.”
The “Fame” star reunites with Lewis in the 2020 Netflix film “Dolly Parton’s Square Christmas” after directing Lewis on the 1990s NBC sitcom “A Different World.”
Other close friends, including composer and lyricist Mark Scheyman and Saturday Night Live alum Vanessa Byer, also attended the celebration. Singer Brandy and former “Amen” star Roz Ryan joined Lewis on a riff on “On These Streets” – their hit song.
“The Mother of Black Hollywood” — Lewis is known for her many roles and was the title of her best-selling memoir of 2017 — her speech ended with an a cappella version of the jazz hit “Here’s to Life” Before her speech”, the audience took out yellow fans and sang “Yield, Yield, Yield” from “Jackie Chan Returns”.
“It’s honest,” she said of the film’s lasting legacy. “It was funny, we talked about real life in show business.”