Niecy Nash gives tearful speech on ‘pain’

Niecy Nash gives tearful speech on 'pain'

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — When Niecy Nash accepted the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Vanguard Award on Thursday, she planned ahead and brought a tissue with her onstage that was ultimately used to dab her eyes and nose.

But there was something “When They See Us” actress didn’t anticipate: A near wardrobe malfunction. 

“I just want to be transparent right now. I was so happy to be up here and have this day, and then my peace was so disturbed: My belt broke, my sticky bra is not sticky no more, something happened to my shoe,” she told an engaged room of Hollywood elite that included presenters Kerry Washington, Issa Rae and Ava DuVernay. “I’m just going to say, if this whole dress falls apart, you’re welcome.”

Nash’s one-armed peach gown did stay up for the duration of her 12-minute speech, but the actress’ guard was completely down at the pre-Oscars event, where she opened up about her split from Jay Tucker.

“Being an actress is what I do, but my hope is to be of service in the world. So today, I want to serve with my truth,” Nash said, before articulating the challenges of falling in love twice (her first husband was a pastor), and finding herself even when her family disproved of her being a single mother.

Honoree Niecy Nash poses with presenters Lena Waithe and Ava DuVernay at the 13th Annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon at Beverly Wilshire.

“What about my happiness?” Nash wondered aloud. “The untethering from my family’s beliefs, the internet’s expectations and my marriage ending caused me so much pain. And I’m not quite sure why it’s our instinct to run from pain,” she said to applause from the crowd. “It’s a barometer for all the (bull) we allow, participate in, condone and create sometimes. Maybe if we didn’t see pain as a punishment, we could welcome it with open arms. We could sit with it, and take copious notes.”

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