The 52nd NAACP Image Awards, which aired virtually Saturday, was a memorable and historical night — to say the least.
Hosted by comedian and black-ish star Anthony Anderson, the annual event spotlights the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of TV, literature, film, social justice and music. Ahead of this year’s awards ceremony, Anderson won Outstanding Actor in a Comedy series during last week’s non-televised show, where a slate of winners were revealed among various categories.
Beyoncé won four awards, including Outstanding Female Artist and two for her assistance on Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” remix. Bey also won Outstanding Music video for “Brown Skin Girl,” a win she will celebrate with her daughter Blue Ivy Carter, as well as WizKid and Saint Jhn, who were all featured on the song.
President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris opened Saturday night’s show with a testimony of their efforts towards creating a united nation. Meanwhile, former First Lady Michelle Obama appeared to present Georgia’s Stacey Abrams with the first Social Justice Impact Award for her dedicated efforts and advocacy for voting rights and social issues.
This year’s Image Awards gave viewers a history lesson with presenters such as Misty Copeland, Samuel Jackson, Regina King, and Lin-Manuel Miranda appearing at historical destinations across the country. Appearing from the California African American Museum, Sistas co-stars Novi Brown and KJ Smith introduced Jazmine Sullivan, who performed her Heaux Tales single, “Pick Up Your Feelings.”
Later in the evening, fellow R&B vocalist Maxwell celebrated the 25th anniversary of his debut album, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, with a nostalgic performance.
Comedian Tracy Morgan took us back to his old stomping grounds at the Apollo Theater in New York to reveal Issa Rae’s win for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy series. Issa’s HBO series, Insecure, also won Outstanding Comedy series.
Fellow comedian and actor Eddie Murphy received NAACP’s Hall of Fame Award, presented by his longtime friend and collaborator Arsenio Hall.
Mary J. Blige and Method Man won Outstanding Supporting Actress and Actor in a Drama series, respectively, for starring in Starz series, Power Book II: Ghost from Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. It also won Outstanding Drama Series.
Viola Davis won Outstanding Actress for her roles in How to Get Away with Murder and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, bringing her a total of six NAACP awards.
Davis’ co-star Chadwick Boseman received the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for starring in Da 5 Bloods. Boseman’s widow, Taylor Simone Ledward appeared on his behalf to accept the award and encourage viewers watching to get screened for colon cancer, which is the disease Chadwick silently battled for four years until his death last August.
The evening also paid respect to fallen entertainers including Cicely Tyson, Andre Harrell, Naya Rivera, Bishop Rance Allen, as well as civil rights activist John Lewis, among others.
Four-time NBA Champ and entrepreneur LeBron James was honored with the prestigious President’s Award for using his platform and status to uplift and empower others through the LeBron James Family Foundation, as well as his groundbreaking, public I PROMISE School.
Other big winners include DJ D-Nice for Entertainer of the Year and Martin Lawrence and Will Smith’s Bad Boys For Life for Outstanding Motion Picture.
For a full list of the winners, check out NAACPImageAwards.net.
By Rachel George
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