The 49th NAACP Image Awards, hosted by Anthony Anderson for the second time, was held for the first time on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It featured a slew of entertainment’s heaviest hitters. And what a year it has been for Black entertainment. Anderson and Kenyatta Burris of Black-ish, and Issa Rae of Insecure have brought stories of Black life to the small screen, imbuing them with authenticity, purpose, comedy, and absurdity.
The NAACP Image Awards is here to celebrate those stories, along with the stories that the mainstream may take for granted. We’re talking shows like Power from Starz and Queen Sugar from OWN. Here, we get into the best moments of the event. And, of course, we’ll let you know who won the coveted entertainer of the year award! Will it be the one, the only Chance The Rapper? We promise to try and not leave anything out. Oh, and welcome to “Oprah for President headquarters.”
#MeToo swept through social media to engulf the world of Hollywood and has branched out from there, turning over powerful men throughout entertainment and media including The Paris Review, The New York Times, NPR, and more. The Image Awards began with its cousin, #TimesUp. The movement seeks to show that sexual harassment in the workplace and in society will no longer be tolerated, especially with someone who claims to “grab ‘em by the pussy,” in the White House. On stage, Lena Waithe, Kerry Washington, Tracee Ellis-Ross, Laverne Cox and more gave us what it was: come November, it’s all hands on deck.
Omari Hardwick Wins Outstanding Actor In A Drama Series
Charlie Wilson Honored With The “Music Makes A Difference” Award
“I was homeless and an addict,” said Wilson. His story is so inspiring because it’s one that transcends the odds. He’s done it all and has been through it all, and now the Image Awards are celebrating not only that story, but his reaching out to help others in the same or similar predicament. He even had the crowd going up in a short rendition of his new school classic, “I’m Blessed!”
William Lucy Honored With The “NAACP Chairman’s Award”
If I told you that a man who stood with both King and Mandela, led one of the largest labor union strikes in the United States in Memphis in 1968, and that you probably didn’t know his name, you’d think we were lying. But such is the history of African-American struggle in the United States and the world. The award was presented by Leon. W Russell.
Common and Andra Day Perform “Strange Fruit”
Andra Day gave a rousing performance of the legendary protest song “Strange Fruit” with Common in tow. Girl can sang, and it’s with a purpose. She’s highlighting the 4,000 people lynched in the United States along with the Economic Justice Initiative called “Lynching In America“. You can check out the visuals here.
Danny Glover Receives The “President’s Award”
We bet you didn’t know world-renowned actor Danny Glover was also an activist. “The Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi is 80 percent Black,” Glover said during his speech. He went on to challenge Nissan and Renault to allow that plant in Mississippi to unionize. Because, as he stated, “Civil rights and labor rights have always been one in the same.” As we stand 50 years on from the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., know that he died advocating for labor workers in Memphis as he began phase three of his struggle to wrest Black people from the economic inequality.
Power Wins Outstanding Drama Series
Power continues to bring in the awards! The show on STARZ beat out contenders like This Is Us and Queen Sugar for the win. Which, as much as we love the show, is a bit surprising considering the cache of those two names.
Daniel Kaluuya Wins Best Outstanding Actor In A Motion Picture For Get Out
Britain born Daniel Kaluuya won best outstanding actor for Get Out, his first win. But it was his speech that shook it down. Whenever anyone tries to rush you off anything, from now on, just let ’em know you ain’t scared of no music. Also, are people allowed to beat out Denzel Washington in acting competitions? Maybe just this time?
Girl’s Trip Wins Outstanding Motion Picture
The surprises just keep rolling in! In his speech, director Malcolm D. Lee let us in on how the idea for the film came about. At Essence Fest in New Orleans, he met his would-be wife, but he also saw how Black women loving and being themselves can make for a great film. Without that experience, there would be no film. He went on to shout out Black women everywhere, including from the “shithole” countries—as our President idiotically called nations POC are from.
And The Entertainer Of The Year Award Goes To …. Ava DuVernay!
This is the director’s first win. From 13th to Jay-Z’s Family Feud and Queen Sugar, DuVernay had a monster name. And she had nothing but love for everyone else creating amazing Black stories. “This is our time,” DuVernay said. “We could say we were here when all this amazing Black art was happening!” What a speech from the director! Look out for her film A Wrinkle In Time, which she called a “love letter,” dropping later this year.
Issa Rae Grabs No Awards
In a huge surprise, Issa Rae walked away empty handed. Jay Ellis did win an award for Best Supporting Actor In A Comedy, though, for the show. But all in all, that’s it.
All in all, the show took home five awards. Anderson won for Outstanding Actor, Tracee-Ellis Ross for Outstanding Actress, both in a comedy series. Marsai Martin won for Best Supporting Actress, Anton Cropper won for Best Directing, and the show for Outstanding Comedy Series overall.