*Watch anything from “A Different World,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” and “Girlfriends” on the small screen to “Poetic Justice,” “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and “Cars” on the big screen and chances are you’ve probably seen or heard Jennifer Lewis.
Nowadays, the acting veteran can be found on the hit ABC show “Black-ish” alongside Tracee Ellis Ross, who was among those honoring Lewis at “The Best of the ABFF” awards ceremony. While accepting the festival’s Career Achievement Award, Lewis detailed her path to fame while revealing the moment she discovered she had a mental disorder.
Starting out, Lewis encountered difficulty with finding a steady job on New York’s Broadway scene. As a result, she decided to take her destiny in her own hands by writing, directing, and starring in her own one-woman stage play, “The Diva is Dismissed. “
The off-Broadway production that showcased her talent gave way to more work in TV and film. Despite her career taking an upward swing, things weren’t going as well for Lewis personally.
During her acceptance speech, Lewis confessed to being diagnosed with bipolar disorder as well as her struggle with coming to terms with the mental disorder. As it turned out, Lewis ultimately decided to get help, Rolling Out noted as it stated how the decision proved to be a good as she never allowed her disorder to prevent her from reaching her goals.
“That journey I took has given me the permission to help others,” Lewis said. “That what my life is about now, helping others. I help people wherever and whenever I can. Just don’t ask me for no money [laughs]!”
Before presenting Lewis with the Career Achievement Award, Ross acknowledged her “Black-ish” co-star’s large body of work over the years, which set the stage for a short video montage that included congratulations from Anthony Anderson and Laurence Fishburne, among other celebrities.