HOLLYWOOD—I really don’t know how to call the NAACP Image Awards an actual awards show because like only 6 or 7 actual trophies were handed out during the actual ceremony hosted by Queen Latifah. News flash, Latifah is not a great host people. I know funny guy Anthony Anderson hosted the ceremony for the past few years; I wish he had hosted again to at least give us some laughs during the ceremony that seemed to move at a rapid speed, if you blinked it would have been over.
Latifah just felt slightly out of her element in my opinion and it felt awkward to watch as a viewer. With that said, the big winner of the actual ceremony was Angela Bassett who picked up 2 awards Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for “9-1-1” and she won the biggest prize of the night for Entertainer of the Year. Earlier in the week Bassett also took home the award for Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her role in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” I can give Bassett the prize for Entertainer of the Year, but Actress in a Drama Series over Zendaya for “Euphoria.” No way people, but this is the NAACP Image Awards which sometimes plays favorites.
How so? Viola Davis winning Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for “The Woman King” over Danielle Deadwyler for her unforgettable and unflinching performance in “Till” come on people. Give the accolades to the person who actually deserves or earned it, not the person you want to give it to. With that said, I will argue that the ceremony got the Actor in a Drama Series win correct with Nicco Annan winning for that superb performance as Uncle Clifford on the Starz series “P-Valley.” The series also took home the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Drama Series.
Will Smith who was MIA at the ceremony won for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for his work in “Emancipation.” I actually thought that award might go to Jonathan Majors for his performance in “Devotion.” Not to worry, Majors is already having a stellar year and it looks to be getting better with “Creed III” hitting theaters March 3, followed by is buzzworthy flick “Magazine Dreams” that is drawing all sorts of Oscar buzz for the actor.
Ryan Coogler collected the award for Outstanding Motion Picture for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” “Abbott Elementary” won the prize for Outstanding Comedy Series which was collected by the series star Quinta Brunson and her co-stars. However, the memorable moments of the night were a direct result of some fiery, but resonating speeches from lawyer/activist Benjamin Crump who collected the Social Impact Justice Award. Crump vowed to continue fighting racism and to “fight for Black History.”
However, I was so impressed with Dwayne Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union who were honored with the President’s Award, as Wade spoke words from the heart as a father to his daughter Zaya. You could tell Wade was not giving a scripted acceptance speech. It was Union who stole the show calling out people including members of the Black community about our treatment of Black Trans people and how the focus must be on equal rights for all people, not picking and choosing who we fight for. Oh, I know it made people in the audience uncomfortable and guess what, that was exactly what Gabrielle Union was aiming for. Bravo job to the both of them for highlighting an issue that continues to be ignored.
There ceremony felt more like acknowledging people compared to an awards show as time was spent on honoring Serena Williams with the Jackie Robinson Sports Award, and Congressman Bennie Thompson was honored with the Chairman’s Award. There was also a special moment as WNBA star Brittney Griner took the stage with her wife, Cherelle. The overall the ceremony proved what awards should be quick, swift and straight to the point wrapping up in just 2 hours tops. Perhaps the Grammys, Golden Globes and Academy Awards could take note.