ABOVE PHOTO: Eddie Murphy from the 52nd NAACP Image Awards. (Photo: Courtesy of the NAACP)
LOS ANGELES — Following the week-long virtual experience, last Saturday the NAACP celebrated the stellar achievements of the 52nd NAACP Image Awards winners during a special LIVE broadcast on BET and simulcast across ViacomCBS networks including CBS for its first time, as well as BET Her, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV, MTV2, Paramount, Pop, Smithsonian, TV Land, VH1, BET PLUTO, and CMT.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris kicked-off the night in a special recorded message highlighting the importance of the NAACP and saluting its work.
Winners of the night included D-NICE (Entertainer of the Year), Viola Davis (Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series – “How To Get Away With Murder”) and (Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture — “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Regé-Jean Page (Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series –“Bridgerton”), Issa Rae (Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series – “Insecure”), Stacey Abrams (Social Justice Impact) and “Bad Boys For Life” starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence (Outstanding Motion Picture).
The late Chadwick Boseman won the award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”Chadwick’s wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, accepted the award in his honor, encouraging fans to be proactive about their health and visit StandUpToCancer.org for more information about detecting the signs of colon cancer.
During the ceremony, legendary entertainer, film icon and two-time Image Award recipient Eddie Murphy was inducted into the acclaimed NAACP Image Awards Hall Of Fame. The Hall of Fame Award was presented by Eddie Murphy’s collaborator and long-time friend Arsenio Hall.
NAACP President and CEO, Derrick Johnson, presented NBA superstar, business entrepreneur, and philanthropist, LeBron James, with the President’s Award which was presented in recognition of a special achievement and distinguished public service.
Civil Rights Movement Icon Rev. D. James Lawson, was recognized with the NAACP Chairman’s Award during the ceremony.
In his acceptance speech, he recalled a time in High School in 1944, where he went door-to-door soliciting memberships for his local NAACP chapter in Ohio.
Image Award Outstanding Female Artist nominee Jazmine Sullivan, kicked-off the music portion with an electrifying performance of “Pick Up Your Feelings” from her latest album “Heaux Tales.”
Additionally, Grammy Award-winning singer Maxwell took to the stage to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his debut album Urban Hang Suite, performing “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder).”
Additional guest appearances included Alicia Keys, Andra Day, Arsenio Hall, Cynthia Erivo, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Michelle Obama, Misty Copeland, Regina King, Samuel L. Jackson, the cast of Tyler Perry’s Sistas, Swizz Beatz, and Tracy Morgan. MC Lyte served as the night’s Voice Over announcer.
Tonight’s LIVE show followed the week long NAACP Image Awards Virtual Experience, which invited fans to join the Image Awards in a celebration of “Black Excellence”– including the non-televised awards program, virtual red carpet, and a curated conversation series.
The Virtual Experience additionally played host to the night’s post-show virtual afterparty which featured classic cuts by DJ Questlove, current cuts by DJ Kiss, and a Jazz Lounge performance by Robert Glasper and Lalah Hathaway.
Fans can relive all of the Image Awards moments from the week in the Virtual Experience’s NAACP Theatre at: virtualexperience.naacpimageawards.net.