ABOVE PHOTO: “Bel-Air” star Jabari Banks chats with Andrea. (Photos by Nyamal Tutdeal)
By Andrea Lawful Sanders
The 54th annual NAACP image awards held in Los Angeles, California was one for the record books!
The journey began with unseasonable weather that LA had not experienced for 50 years — record rainfall that led to flooding, snow, hail, you name it, all happened while we were trying to make the best of navigating through COVID-19 protocols and making sure everyone was safe.
As a result of all these moving parts, the red carpet for Friday evening’s awards dinner was canceled, a decision made by L.A. Live event staff to keep us safe.
However, on Saturday, February 25, the live red carpet was a go!
The Sunday SUN team, which consisted of myself, Nyamal Tutdeal and Ngakiya Camara, garnered interviews with award winning actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, who received the NAACP Icon Image Award, from the Philadelphia Branch at their Awards Watch Party that same evening. Ralph gave her Philly fans a shout out on the red carpet and during her awards presentation.
The evening was filled with memorable interviews such as Jabari Banks from “Bel-Air,” the cast of “Abbott Elementary” who won five awards; Nicco Annan and the “P-Valley” cast — Nicco won for best actor in a drama series.
The list of entertainers we met while working the red carpet went on and on!
Our biggest highlight of the evening was having the opportunity to interview two of the top box office leading ladies! Angela Bassett, who won three awards: best actress in a drama series for “9-1-1,” best supporting actress in a motion picture for her role in “Wakanda Forever,” and the top honor of entertainer of the year!
Actress Viola Davis won two awards that evening, best actress in a motion picture for her role in “The Woman King,” and an award for her literary work, “Finding Me: A Memoir.”
Another notable mention was the President’s award that Dwyane Wade and wife Gabrielle Union received from NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson for their activism, which led to an emotional speech from Wade about his daughter, who is transgender.
Civil rights activist and lawyer, Benjamin Crump in his acceptance speech for the social justice impact award, removed all doubt that he was the one chosen to lead our people in the struggle of racial discrimination and biases.
Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) received the chairman’s award for exemplary public service from Leon W. Russell, chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors.
I also had the pleasure to meet and interview youth activist of the year, Bradley Ross Jackson, who is well on his way to becoming a leader and activist in his own right.
The air was festive, people were excited, and we spoke with many actors, artists and leaders that won awards for their exemplary work in their respective fields. It was an evening that was electrified with joy, excitement, appreciation, and love of Black people.
You can view the many pictures and interviews from the 54th Annual NAACP Image Awards on the Philadelphia Sunday SUN Facebook page @PhiladelphiaSundaySUN or follow my page, Andrea Lawful Sanders.
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