Academy Award Winner Lupita Nyong’o was honored with the Best Breakthrough Performance Award at ESSENCE’s 7th Annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon for her work in Fox Searchlight’s acclaimed 12 Years a Slave. The award was presented by one of her 12 Years a Slave co-stars, celebrated actress Alfre Woodard.

In accepting the award, Lupita shared a moving, personal story which perfectly illustrates the theme of our Images Speaker Series: the power of images to inform, influence and inspire. You can read a transcript of her speech at ESSENCE.com.

We congratulate Lupita on her well-deserved accolades, and look forward to watching her inspire future generations — and us — with her exceptional work in the coming years.