Essence Ventures' Pauline Malcolm-Thornton talks Oscars and Angela Bassett doing the thing

How the brand celebrates Black Disney talent during Oscars week with a special message for Women's History Month

ByNzinga Blake & Shako Liu  OTRC logo
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Storytellers Spotlight: Essence Ventures' Pauline Malcolm-Thornton
"I think it's also really important for mainstream outlets, like the Oscars, (to) recognize us for our achievement. And for the community to see that," Malcolm-Thornton said.

LOS ANGELES -- For years, the Essence brand has worked with The Walt Disney Company to amplify and highlight key talent and titles. Former Disney cast member, now Essence Ventures Chief Revenue Officer, Pauline Malcolm-Thornton, stepped back into the Storytellers Spotlight to talk about the countdown to Oscars and how Essence has supported some Disney Oscar nominees through their career in the entertainment industry.

"I get to work with incredible brands, like the Walt Disney Company every single day in my role as Chief Revenue Officer for Essence ventures. We are working with Disney in a myriad of ways in highlighting incredible IP through the pages of our magazine, and also on (," Malcolm-Thornton said.

One nominee that has been taking the award season by storm is Angela Bassett, who made history as the first actor in an MCU release to receive an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." Bassett also made history with Essence Magazine.

"We got an opportunity to work with the queen, that is Angela Bassett, for our November December cover, and we really showcased her in a different way," Malcolm-Thornton told On The Red Carpet. "A lot of the magazines at the time were showcasing the cast, but this was an animated version of Angela Bassett."

Malcolm-Thornton also shared her excitement Rihanna, who also graced the covers of Essence Magazine, in addition to expressing the importance of having a film like "Black Panther" receive the prestigious recognition with the five Oscar nominations.

"I think it's also really important for mainstream outlets, like the Oscars, (to) recognize us for our achievement. And for the community to see that," Malcolm-Thornton said.

The countdown to Oscars also marks the highly anticipated, Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon, which is in its 16th year. When asked about the genesis of this event Malcolm-Thornton explained, "Black Women in Hollywood was started kind of like an answer even going back before the 'Oscars So White' movement in 2016, where we just didn't see ourselves in the mid 2000s in Hollywood. And really, it was created to be a safe space for creatives in front of the camera, and behind the camera, and to celebrate their incredible achievements in Hollywood."

One can always expect to see Disney talent represented and honored at the star-studded event.

"This year, we're so excited about our lineup, we are honoring some Disney executives like Tara Duncan, the president of the Onyx Collective, and the incomparable Sheryl Lee Ralph, starring in 'Abbott Elementary," Malcolm-Thornton said.

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," and Marvel Studios' upcoming "Ironheart" series star Dominque Thorne will also be honored at this year's luncheon.

While Essence is known for attracting star power, the brand prides itself on making sure all Black women are seen with a special message from Essence this Women's History Month and International Women's Day.

"We've been talking a lot about celebrity women being seen, but I think for Women's History Month and all that's going on in our world, sometimes you don't feel as seen, especially the everyday woman. And it's really important that women around the world know that we see you, and you are heard," Malcolm-Thornton said.

Mark your calendar: March 12 is Oscar Sunday. The 95th Oscars air live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC. After the last award is handed out, stay with "On The Red Carpet" for continuing coverage. Be sure to follow @OnTheRedCarpet on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for all your Oscar news and information. Click here to download our CTV apps to watch "On The Red Carpet" wherever you stream.

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of this ABC station.