The 51st Annual NAACP Image Awards kicked off Black History Month with a bang, hosting it’s nominee luncheon to celebrate those who’ve set the bar high in Black arts and entertainment. The swanky nominee luncheon was held at the W Hotel in Hollywood, where the preceding year’s creatives, actors, writers, producers, directors and the like gathered for a moment to celebrate each other in melanated glory.
NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson says this year’s award ceremony is sponsored by BET and will shed light on what representation truly means. “It’s about community love, no one can love us more than we can love ourselves,” Johnson said.
Johnson also says another vital mission for the NAACP this year is to empower Black communities to become even more engaged in the voting process. “The arts and entertainment community is vital to project a positive message about our power and what we can do to make democracy work,” Johnson said.
Loni Love and Adrienne Houghton of the Emmy-Award winning talk show The Real also shared their thoughts on the conversation surrounding diversity and representation in the entertainment industry. Houghton says “you can’t complain that you’re not being recognized and then not recognize the ones that do recognize you,” adding that “these nominations mean just as much, if not more coming from our own people.”
Loni Love added to the sentiment highlighting the NAACP as one of “the few organizations that actually celebrate people of color, but also fight for us.” Whether it’s voting, whether it’s making sure we take the census, this is a very important organization and we are so proud to be able to support it, and be here and be nominated as well. The Real is nominated this year for Outstanding Talk Series.
NAACP Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the NAACP Image Awards Committee Karen Boykin-Towns says “at the end of the day, we are more similar than not.” “We need to come together because there’s power in our collectiveness versus working independently,” she said. “It’s about strategic partnerships. It’s not about who’s on first, it’s about us all being together because when we’re together, we win,” Boykin-Towns continued.
A highlight of nominees celebrated during the luncheon included Beverly Bond, Founder of Black Girls Rock!, producer Debra Martin Chase who is nominated for Outstanding Motion Picture for her work in Harriet, comedian and screenwriter Kev on Stage, actress Lyric Ross for her role in This Is Us, Matthew A. Cherry for Outstanding Literary Work in the book and film Hair Love, Pat Charles for his writing work in Black Lightning and The Book of Secrets and Patrik-Ian Polk for Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture/Television for Being Mary Jane. Yvette Nicole Brown was also nominated for Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture/Television for Always a Bridesmaid. Paul Eckstein, Randall Winston, Reginald Hudlin, Roshon Fegan, Ruth E. Carter, Sharon Braithwaite and were also among nominees honored.
Another one of the paths being widened through the NAACP Image Awards is Anya Adams’ nomination for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series, the only woman to represent in the category. And at just fifteen years old, actress and producer Marsai Martin walked away with a total of give nominations for her work in Little and Black-ish.
Breakout films Us, Dolemite Is My Name, Queen & Slim, Just Mercy and The Lion King also took away top nominations for the year’s upcoming awards.
Be sure to tune to the 51st Annual NAACP Image Awards telecast live on BET, February 22, 2020. See interviews with nominees and guests from the luncheon by visiting www.lasentinel.net.