Dolly Parton, Taraji P. Henson, Mariah Carey and More Celebrate Debbie Allen's New Documentary
Hollywood is honoring Debbie Allen in the most special way!
In celebration of the release of Netflix's Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker — a Shondaland production about Allen and her Debbie Allen Dance Academy — the streaming service released a montage video on Thursday in which stars such as Ava DuVernay, Dolly Parton, Jenifer Lewis, Taraji P. Henson, Mara Brock Akil, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Ellen Pompeo, Kerry Washington, James Pickens Jr., Mariah Carey, Maud Arnold, Chloe Arnold, Chandra Wilson, Shonda Rhimes, and Phylicia Rashad pay tribute (and offer flowers virtually!) to the Grey's Anatomy actress and producer, 70, and thank her for her outstanding accomplishments and continuous support throughout the years.
"I'd like to have the title as your biggest admirer but I know I have a lot of competition in that category," DuVernay, 48, says in the clip. "I just want to salute you today. I'm so happy that we have this space and this time to celebrate you that you get all your flowers and that you'll have many more decades to get them. It'll never be enough because there is so much that we can salute you for and applaud you for. You've been an … an inspiration seems too soft a word for what you mean to me as a black woman director. The ground that you lay and continue to lay, I can't thank you enough for the grace and the power with which you move through our industry and open doors for me and people like me, women like me to walk through. Thank you so much. Thank you for standing by my side. Thank you for always encouraging me and being so kind, so lovely, so warm. I wish you nothing but many more years of beauty and bravery."
"Hey Debbie Allen, it's your girlfriend Dolly," Parton says. "I wanted to congratulate you on your documentary as well as the Christmas on the Square musical. You did a great job directing, you did a great job choreographing, you did a great job executive producing. And I just love you and am so proud of you.
"Queen Debbie Allen, you are a huge reason why I'm an actress and why I am in Hollywood," Henson, 50, said. "I want to thank you for setting the tone of excellence for students at Howard University studying the craft of acting or musical theater. Thank you for setting up the Andrew Allen Scholarship in honor of your father at Howard University. When I became pregnant my Junior year, I won that scholarship therefore I was able to continue to study my craft. Thank you so much for giving me the audacity to dream and the guts to make my dreams come true. Love you! "
In November, Allen opened up to PEOPLE about the documentary in which she takes viewers on a magical journey of what life is like preparing for a large production at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.
"As a young girl, The Nutcracker was so important to me," Allen, who celebrated the 20th anniversary of the DADA last month, said in the documentary trailer. "I decided to take it on with different styles of dance and music and make it fun."
"This is about woman power," Allen told her students. "Women rule the world. I don't care what they say … Every day is not just a rehearsal for Nutcracker, it's a rehearsal for the rest of your life."
Allen's colleagues share the same sentiment.
"What I love about you Debbie Allen, is your spirit of positivity," Pompeo, 51, says in the tribute video. "There are no problems, there are only solutions. you're always finding a way to make everything around you better. How can we work harder and how can we just be better? How can we make everything better? That's always the energy you bring into the room and you're always dancing. You are like music to my ears and I love you."
"When I look back at some of my most favorite memories in my career, so many of them have you in it," Washington, 43, says. "Whether it was you directing us at Scandal always making us better actors, or when I was in the director's chair and you r choreographed dance moves for my episode. You have always been there for me with encouragement and tough love and joy and strength. You inspire me as an actor, as a teacher, as a fired, as a director, as a wife, as a mother, as an entrepreneur, as a human being. Debbie, you are so beautiful inside and out and I'm sending you all the gratitude and much love and all the flowers in the world today for you."
"Debbie Allen means so much to me," Carey, 50, adds. "She's a beautiful spirit. She's an incredibly talented and just warm human being. I actually talk about her in the Meaning of Mariah Carey, but I walk about a very, very special time in our lives that we spent together and how, kind of, really helped me evolved in many ways. She means so much to everybody. It's hard to encapsulate that in a little bit of time, but I would say she means the world."
"Congratulations, Miss Debbie on everything," said Allen's sister, Rashad. "The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker. You know when Phylia was very young she said, 'You know Mommy, people are always talking about the red shoes but I have brown feet and I think they dance very well. And that's what you're giving people. Brown feet that dance very well. Here's to you, Miss Debbie, the cutest little rosebud that Texas ever knew."
Speaking with PEOPLE in November, Allen said her mission was to create a documentary in which young people could "see an image of themselves that propels them to want and go further."
"When I'm training these young people, I expect them to get out in the world the way my mother expected me and [my siblings]," she said. " All of us get out here and do something and be productive. That is the character education that instills the creativity."
Allen continued, "We have to have an incubation for creativity. A space that's open so people can think of something that they're not just getting from the internet or from television, that they're actually ingesting something that's now ready to come out in their way of doing it: creativity, confidence, being able to take criticism, deal with pain, and also to understand the freedom and the unlimited journey of your energy. How far it can really go."
Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker is streaming on Netflix now.
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