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Black women in music came together on Thursday night for Essence’s annual pre-Grammy soiree that celebrates and honors women in the business.

But while Grammy Award nominee singers Jazmine Sullivan and Andra Day brought down the house inside Avalon nightclub with their killer performances, it was on the red carpet where Hollywood power players discussed the recent backlash Beyonce has received following the release of her track, “Formation.”

“The amazing thing that she did is use this huge platform not only to promote her music but to make a social statement and to do something that was really, really important,” Zendaya told us exclusively. “I loved it and I thought it was 100% necessary and people are going to be offended by us having pride and love for ourselves and raising awareness to issues that we have.”

Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance has also upset a group of critics who are calling for a boycott following the political half time routine where she paid homage to the Black Panther Party. People are planning to protest at the NFL headquarters in New York on February 16.

“Everything in history, not everybody is going to agree with stuff,” Christina Milian said. “I think it’s powerful, I love Beyonce she is very positive.”

MC Lyte chimed in, “People fail to understand is that you can be a huge pop star, but you still are Black. You still are African American and you still deal with it in certain ways.”

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