The 2023 NAACP Image Awards are currently being presented in a live awards ceremony hosted by Queen Latifah and airing on BET.
The host kicked off the show with a celebratory monologue by singing “I’m Gonna Live Till I Die,” “Ladies First” and “About Damn Time” in between call outs to the Black women and men in the audience.
“That’s right. Live, live, live. That’s what we all must do,” Latifah said after her musical opener. “Look at us. I see so many beautiful Black queens and kings.”
She called the stars in attendance examples of “drive, determination and success.”
Latifah also specifically praised Black women, who she called “superheroes,” “a role we didn’t choose.”
“By the way, if no one told you today, I love you,” Latifah told the audience.
She later shouted out Black men including Jonathan Majors.
Latifah joked that she wasn’t sure how the Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania and Creed III star was at the awards and in “every movie” in theaters now. She also urged Black Panther: Wakanda Forever writer-director Ryan Coogler to take a bow for the Marvel franchise’s success.
And she shouted out trailblazing Black political figures including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
She also took a moment to acknowledge the “ongoing heartbreaking murder” of young Black men and women, citing Tyre Nichols in particular as the names of high-profile Black people who were killed were displayed on the screen behind her.
And she encouraged the audience to continue loving each other, saying that the awards show exists to love and celebrate each other.
After the first commercial break, Latifah introduced special guest Brittney Griner, who walked out with her wife, Cherelle, to a standing ovation.
Early winners included drama actor and actress winners Nicco Annan (P-Valley) and Angela Bassett (9-1-1), respectively. Earlier in the week, Bassett won for her Oscar-nominated role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
“When they say God is good, I know it is so,” Annan said in his acceptance speech, adding that he was “grateful for the artists that participate in creating this story.”
He also dedicated his award to “every 40-, 50-, 60-, 70-year-old who didn’t have the space to be their selves.”
Abbott Elementary won best comedy series, with star-creator Quinta Brunson accepting the award as she welcomed her co-stars onto the stage with her.
“We are a brand-new show. Watching all the other shows out there that paved the way for us at ABC like Black-ish … we are so grateful,” Brunson said in part. “We’re happy that we’re able to make this show that is accessible to everyone but for and by us.”
Will Smith won best actor in a motion picture for Emancipation, a rare honor for the actor in the wake of his high-profile slap of Chris Rock at last year’s Oscars. Smith, who has kept a relatively low-profile since the incident and subsequent backlash, wasn’t at the NAACP Image Awards, but the audience applauded at his win. Presenter Janelle Monáe accepted the award on his behalf.
Viola Davis won her eighth NAACP Image Award for her starring role in The Woman King, thanking everyone who was involved with her “magnum opus” movie, a project she called “nothing but high-octane bravery.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever won best motion picture. In his acceptance speech, Coogler paid tribute to late franchise star Chadwick Boseman saying that while they lost him “we gained an ancestor. He’s with us every day, motivating us, and I can’t think of anyone who done more to advance our image.” Coogler said he was “honored to represent him.”
Angela Bassett won the top award of Entertainer of the Year, referencing Ariana deBose’s viral BAFTA rap when she took the stage: “I guess Angela Bassett did the thing, huh?”
Also in the two-hour special, Kerry Washington presented Serena Williams with the Jackie Robinson Sports Award; Leon W. Russell presented Bennie Thompson with the Chairman’s Award; Tracee Ellis Ross presented Crump with the Social Justice Impact Award and NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson presented Gabrielle Union-Wade and Dwyane Wade with the President’s Award.
The actress and former NBA player were emotional as they talked about their daughter, Zaya, and the issues faced by her and other Black trans people.
Crump delivered a fiery speech that got the crowd on its feet, with people cheering and raising their fists in the air.
The high-profile attorney who has represented the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Tyre Nichols, among others, vowed to continue his “fight against the legalized genocide of colored people.” And he also pledged to take the fight to the classroom.
“We are prepared to fight for Black history in and outside of classrooms,” Crump said. “We have to stand up for our children’s future. We have to fight for our children’s future. If we don’t…we can’t expect anyone else to…[we have to be] prepared to fight for our children’s future until hell freezes over. Then, we have to be ready to fight on the ice.”
Presenters for the live show, which is being simulcast across various Paramount networks including CBS and MTV, included Brian White, Method Man, Damson Idris, Taye Diggs, Harold Perrineau, Issa Rae, Monáe, Janelle James, Majors, Washington, Letitia Wright, Morris Chestnut, Ms. Pat, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Terrence Howard, Ellis Ross and Zendaya.
The most nominated projects for this year’s NAACP Image Awards are Black Panther: Wakanda Forever with 12 nods, The Woman King and Abbott Elementary with nine nods apiece, Black-ish with seven nods and Till, From Scratch, P-Valley and Queen Sugar with six nods each.
Saturday night’s telecast comes after a week of non-televised ceremonies where winners were recognized in multiple categories. The first four nights consisted of virtual presentations each evening: Beyoncé and Rihanna were among the winners from night one; Jennifer Hudson, Trevor Noah and Viola Davis were among those winning during night two; Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Quinta Brunson and Keke Palmer were among the night three winners; and Abbott Elementary, Atlanta and Better Call Saul were among the fourth night’s winners. On Thursday, the outstanding make-up, hairstyling and costume design winners were announced at a fashion show. And on Friday night, more awards were presented at an off-camera dinner and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Abbott Elementary were the top winners, with three awards each.
As of Saturday, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever had already won seven awards and Abbott Elementary had collected five prizes.
The list of nominees below will be updated as they are revealed live. Refresh for the latest.
Entertainer of the Year
Angela Bassett (WINNER)
Mary J. Blige
Outstanding Motion Picture
A Jazzman’s Blues (Netflix)
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Marvel Studios) (WINNER)
Emancipation (Apple TV)
The Woman King (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Till (United Artists Releasing/Orion Pictures)
Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
Daniel Kaluuya – Nope (Universal Pictures)
Jonathan Majors – Devotion (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Joshua Boone – A Jazzman’s Blues (Netflix)
Sterling K. Brown – Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul (Focus Features)
Will Smith – Emancipation (Apple) (WINNER)
Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Danielle Deadwyler – Till (United Artists Releasing/Orion Pictures)
Keke Palmer – Alice (Vertical Entertainment)
Letitia Wright – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Marvel Studios)
Regina Hall – Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul (Focus Features)
Viola Davis – The Woman King (Sony Pictures Releasing) (WINNER)
Outstanding Comedy Series
Abbott Elementary (ABC) (WINNER)
Rap Sh!t (HBO Max)
The Wonder Years (ABC)
Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Damson Idris – Snowfall (FX)
Jabari Banks – Bel-Air (Peacock)
Kofi Siriboe – Queen Sugar (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
Nicco Annan – P-Valley (Starz) (WINNER)
Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us (NBC)
Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
Angela Bassett – 9-1-1 (FOX) (WINNER)
Brandee Evans – P-Valley (Starz)
Queen Latifah – The Equalizer (CBS)
Rutina Wesley – Queen Sugar (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
Zendaya – Euphoria (HBO Max)
More to come.
(This article is generated through syndicated feeds, Financetin doesn’t own any part of this content)