‘Black-ish‘ star Anthony Anderson returned to host the 53rd NAACP Image Awards for the ninth year in a row from a studio in Los Angeles where Jennifer Hudson was a big winner!
Hudson took home the Entertainer of the Year and Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture awards. The importance of voting rights was a recurring theme throughout the broadcast and actor Samuel L. Jackson was honored with the Chairman’s Award.
Let’s take a look at the highlights of this year’s NAACP Image Awards below –
Anthony Anderson Wins the Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Award for the 8th Consecutive Year
Along with hosting duties, Anthony Anderson was also nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for ‘Black-ish‘ this year. He won it for the eighth consecutive year. “I’d like to thank my mama for sleeping with my daddy and making me,” Anthony said. “I’m just a kid from Compton. If you dream and believe, anything is possible,” he added, standing next to his mother.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, at the top of his opening remarks, Anderson said: “This is the one place where they can’t stop Black people from voting.” He also praised Ketanji Brown Jackson, who on February 25 became the first Black woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court. Putting an emphasis on the importance of voting rights, the host also offered a reminder of NAACP’s efforts “to ensure that right is protected.”
Samuel L. Jackson Is Honored With the Chairman’s Award
One of the most recognized actors of his generation, Samuel L. Jackson received the prestigious Chairman’s Award. It is an honor to recognize individuals who demonstrate exemplary public service and use their platforms as agents of change. Therefore, before accepting the award, Jackson’s contribution to various causes, including health, civil rights, and other issues that merit changes, were highlighted by the NAACP, as per Entertainment Tonight.
The veteran actor thanked everyone who helped and supported him along the way as he stood in his home holding the trophy and began his speech: “First of all thank you Mr. Leon W. Russell and the NAACP for bestowing this prestigious award on me. In the words of Marion Wright Edelman, ‘Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not just something we do in our spare time.'”
“I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up in a lot of different eras, where I had the opportunity to use my voice, my legs, my body to fight for things that were right. From Civil Rights to the Vietnam War to Morehouse College and a lot of other things that needed fixing and changing. And we got it done. And right now, we have things that we still need to do. The most important thing, being the Voting Rights Act.”
“I know we can’t change that but, we can put our legs, our bodies, and our voices to work to make sure that people do go out and vote, no matter what they do to keep us from doing it. And I hope you all will do that. And maybe one day, somebody will end up with one of these because you used your legs and your body,” the ‘Pulp Fiction‘ star continued his inspiring speech.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, NAACP Chairman of the Board Leon W. Russell introduced the Chairman Award to Samuel L. Jackson in a pre-recorded video. This video was shot at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. The memorial is the first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people and victims of lynching.
Other presenters at the show also appeared from iconic locations. This includes the Questlove at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem and Simu Liu at Black Star Collectibles, a Black-owned comic book store in Los Angeles.
Mary J. Blige Took the Stage to Perform ‘Good Morning Gorgeous’
The Queen of our hearts Mary J. Blige took the stage from New York City’s iconic Apollo Theater to perform the lead single from her recent album, ‘Good Morning Gorgeous’ as she stood in a sleek purple and black gown. Blige was backed by a full band. She belted out the lyrics to the song. Then the star went onto her 1992 hit from her debut What’s the 411?, ‘Love No Limit’ gracing the stage and hitting her signature bop. She sang the first verse of the song before launching to the classic bridge.
Scot X. Esdaile and Howard University student Channing Hill were named Activist of the Year and Youth Activist of the Year at this year’s NAACP Image Awards, respectively. Esdaile is a member of the NAACP’s national board of directors, while Hill is the president of Howard University’s NAACP chapter. Ruth E. Carter was honored with the Vanguard Award. Carter made history as the first Black woman to win an Oscar for costume design for Black Panther.
Nikole Hannah-Jones Honored With the Social Justice Award
The ‘Scandal‘ and ‘Little Fires Everywhere‘ star Kerry Washington appeared in person to present the Social Justice Award to Nikole Hannah-Jones at the 53rd NAACP Image Awards. Nikole is the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of The 1619 Project that Washington described as “elucidating the absolute centrality of Black history to the history of the United States,” as per The Hollywood Reporter.
Washington added, “Those who are in the vanguard of progress need a passion for the truth.” Furthermore, the actress praised the Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University’s School of Communications for “defending and uplifting our history and the spectacular truth of our stories on this shared land.”
“This award is not really about me,” said Hannah-Jones in her acceptance speech. “As of now, some 36 states have passed or are considering bills to make it harder to teach about racism and inequality. Politicians are using the power of the state to whitewash an already whitewashed history.”
“Books and ideas about the black experience, about the LGBTQ community, are being banned. These anti-history laws go hand in hand with regressive policies that aim to restrict our civil and voting rights. A healthy society does not ban ideas, and attacks on books are an attack on democracy,” Nikole continued.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Presented the President’s Award
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a special appearance at the NAACP Image Awards this year, where the NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson presented the couple the President’s Award “in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service.”
For their acceptance speech, the pair dressed in elegant looks from popular Black designers with Duchess Meghan wearing a sapphire-blue, goddess-style dress. Her dress is by Christopher John Rogers. Duchess’ dress featured a knee-high slit and a baby-blue sash that extended to a train/ Prince Harry donned a black tuxedo by Ozwald Boateng.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, the pair’s nonprofit organization Archewell has partnered with NAACP to create the Oswell Digital Civil Rights Award, to be given annually to “leaders creating transformational change at the intersection of social justice and technology.”
The 2022 inaugural recipient is Dr. Safiya Noble. Noble is the internet studies scholar and Algorithms of Oppression author who received a $100,000 unrestricted stipend to be used to continue to make an impact in her field, according to Harper’s Bazaar.
“Thank you so much [NAACP] President [Derrick] Johnson for this incredible honor. It’s inspiring to think about the legacy surrounding the Image Awards, which began shortly after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed into law. And today, we can continue that legacy by re-establishing federal voting protections in our country and fulfilling the work of civil rights giants like the late John Lewis. We are so deeply humbled to be here in the company of so many illustrious awardees,” Duchess Meghan began.
“Before we begin, we would like to acknowledge the people of Ukraine who urgently need our continued support as a global community. And I also echo the immense gratitude for tonight, both for this award and to this community for welcoming me so warmly. I think it’s safe to say that I come from a very different background than my incredible wife. Yet our lives were brought together for a reason. We share a commitment to a life of service, a responsibility to confront injustice, and a belief that the most often overlooked are the most important to listen to,” Prince Harry said.
“This is the era of the digital justice movement,” Duchess Meghan said. “We are proud to partner with NAACP and each of you to translate the vital efforts of those who came before us to the modern challenges that exist ahead of us.”
Sterling K. Brown Wins Outstanding Actor In A Drama Series
Sterling K. Brown won the Outstanding Actor In A Drama Series award for his role as Randall Pearson on ‘This Is Us’. During his acceptance speech, the actor said: “You’ve got a brother bugging out. Listen, there’s way too many white people in my show to win this thing, so I’ve got to say thank you, Black people, for voting for me. I really do appreciate it.”
Brown who went up against Billy Porter (‘Pose‘), Damson Idris (‘Snowfall‘), Forest Whitaker (‘Godfather of Harlem‘), and Kofi Siriboe (‘Queen Sugar‘). Nominated eight times in total, this is Sterling’s second NAACP Image Award win. He won the same award in 2017 for ‘This Is Us‘.
Angela Bassett Wins Award For Outstanding Actress In A Drama Series
Nominated twenty-three times in total, this year Angela Bassett snagged the Outstanding Actress In A Drama Series trophy for her role as Athena Grant on ‘9-1-1′. “Thank you NAACP for your support tonight and my entire career,” she said. “Definitely want to thank my fellow nominees whose work is consistently nuanced and beautiful and inspiring.”
Bassett also thanked the ‘9-1-1‘ show’s creators and castmates who “worked and gave everything to make a number 1 show,” as well as her own family. “I’m so blessed and so fortunate that we have that collaboration and respect with one another whether it’s in the writer’s room or in front of the camera,” the star said on being an executive producer on the show after her eleventh win, as per BET. “It means the world. They take whatever I bring and take it seriously. They are right there with me and behind me.”
Will Smith Thanks The Williams Family For His Role in ‘King Richard’
Will Smith’s portrayal of Richard Williams the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams for ‘King Richard‘ was recognized by the NAACP that honored him this year as an Outstanding Actor In A Motion Picture. In his acceptance speech, Smith reflected on what an honor it was to portray this real-life character saying: “This is one of the greatest honors of my entire career.” “Thank you to the NAACP, and my heart and love to the Williams Family.”
The film Smith starred in depicts how Richard Williams developed his daughters’ talents and abilities. It is about how he took them from humble beginnings in Compton to eventually transforming them into tennis icons.
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