The 51st NAACP Image Awards aired last night, live on BET, and the awards given were more than well-deserved. Especially for those who went unrecognized by the “other” award shows of the year. Black excellence was DEFINITELY in attendance!
First off, Lizzo took top honors for Entertainer of the Year; and during her speech, she shared a powerful message: “I just wanna shout out all of the big, black girls that I bring on stage with me. I do that because I want them to know they are the trophies. And since this is the final award of the night, I don’t even wanna make it about me. Every last one of you, you are the award, you are so special, we are such a beautiful people, this is just a reminder of all of the incredible things that we can do. God bless you, and keep on being an award! Let’s go!”
‘Black-ish’ swept the awards with wins for Outstanding Comedy Series and lead acting accolades for Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross. Dion Cole and Marsai Martin also walked away with awards for their supporting roles on the ABC sitcom. And outside of tv, Miss Martin was also named Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture and Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in Motion Picture for her role in ‘Little.’
Ava DuVernay’s ‘When They See Us’ walked away with the award for Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series, or Dramatic Special. Additionally, Jharrel Jerome and Niecy Nash both won for their individual roles in the Netflix series on the Exonerated Five. Previously snubbed ‘Just Mercy’ took the top movie award for Outstanding Motion Picture, as well as Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture and acting wins for stars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx.
Rihanna gracefully accepted the President’s Award, being celebrated for her career in music, fashion, and philanthropy, including her Clara Lionel Foundation. She spoke about the importance of changing the world together, asking the audience to raise their hands if they have “colleagues and partners and friends from other races, sexes, religions.” “They want to break bread with you, right?” Rihanna asked. “They like you? Well, then, this is their problem too.” “When we’re marching and protesting and posting about the Michael Brown Jrs. and the Atatiana Jeffersons of the world, tell your friends to pull up,” she stated.
The award show also paid tribute to late basketball star Kobe Bryant, the stage featuring a basketball net with Bryant’s jersey’s on each side with an audio recording of his farewell speech after his last NBA game at the Staples Center in 2016. He said his famous line, “What can I say? Mamba out.”
What an amazing night! Congratulations to ALL of the winners!