No, President Barack Obama was not actually present at the 40th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles February 12th, but so many folks were busy paying him props that he dominated the evening anyway.
For instance, Tyler Perry, who co-hosted the event with the outfit-changing Halle Berry, announced early on that "If there hadn't been an N-A-A-C-P, there'd be no O-B-A-M-A," spelling the latter's' letters out one-by-one. Later in the evening, Mr. Perry spoke about how the Obama victory made him more proud of "this," pointing to his skin.
Standouts among the luminaries in attendance included lifetime achievement honorees Muhammad Ali, Russell Simmons and Al Gore. And still-grieving Jennifer Hudson not only took home a trio of trophies, but delivered a powerful performance as well. In the house was a Who's Who of well-connected African-Americans in Hollywood, however, conspicuously absent were two nominees, R&B crooner Chris Brown and his girlfriend, the singer Rihanna. The couple has been keeping a low profile since he was recently arrested for allegedly assaulting her with his teeth and a deadly weapon.
As the closing credits rolled, Stevie Wonder brought the congregation to its feet with a spirited rendition of his classic "Black Man," revising the lyrics to include a timely refrain about whom else but Barack Obama!
Complete List of NAACP Image Award Winners
Best Picture – "The Secret Life of Bees"
Best Director – Gina Prince-Bythewood, "The Secret Life of Bees"
Best Actor – Will Smith, "Seven Pounds"
Best Actress – Rosario Dawson, "Seven Pounds Supporting Actor – Columbus Short, "Cadillac Records"
Supporting Actress – Taraji P. Henson, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Independent Film – "Slumdog Millionaire"
Documentary – "The Black List"
Foreign Film – "The Class"
Best Screenplay – Jenny Lumet, "Rachel Getting Married"
Best Comedy Series – "Tyler Perry's House of Payne"
Best Actor in a Comedy Series – LaVan Davis, "Tyler Perry's House of Payne"
Best Actress in a Comedy Series – Tracee Ellis Ross, "Girlfriends"
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Lance Gross, "Tyler Perry's House of Payne"
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Keshia Knight Pulliam, "Tyler Perry's House of Payne"
Best Dramatic Series – "Grey's Anatomy"
Best Actor in a Dramatic Series – Hill Harper, "CSI: NY"
Best Actress in a Dramatic Series – Chandra Wilson, "Grey's Anatomy"
Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Series – Taye Diggs, "Private Practice"
Supporting Actress in a Dramatic Series – Angela Bassett, "ER"
Made-for-TV Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special – "A Raisin in The Sun"
Best Actor in a Made-for-TV Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special -Sean Combs, "A Raisin in the Sun"
Best Actress in a Made-for-TV Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special – Phylicia Rashad, "A Raisin in the Sun"
Best Actor in a Sopa Opera – Bryton McClure, "The Young and the Restless"
Best Actress in a Sopa Opera – Debbi Morgan, "All My Children"
Best Director in a Dramatic Series – Ernest Dickerson, "Lincoln Heights – The Day Before Tomorrow"
Best Director in a Comedy Series – Kevin Sullivan, "30 Rock – MILF Island"
Best Screenplay for a Dramatic Series – Shonda Rhimes, "Grey's Anatomy: Freedom Part 1 & 2"
Best Screenplay for a Comedy Series – Erica D. Montolfo, "The Game: White Coats and White Lies"
News/Information Series or Special – "In Conversation: Michelle Obama Interview"
Talk Series – "The View"
Reality Series – "American Idol 7"
Variety Series or Special – "An Evening of Stars: Tribute to Smokey Robinson"
Children's Program – "Dora The Explorer"
Best Performance in a Children's Series or Special – Keke Palmer, "True Jackson"
Best Male Artist – Jamie Foxx
Best Female Artist – Beyonce'
Best New Artist – Jennifer Hudson Best Duo, Group or Collaboration – Jennifer Hudson, featuring Fantasia- "I'm His Only Woman"
Best Jazz Artist – Natalie Cole- "Still Unforgettable"
Best Gospel Artist – Mary Mary
Best World Music Album – Cheryl Keyes – "Let Me Take You There"
Best Music Video – "Yes We Can" – Will.i.am
Best Song – "Yes We Can" – Will.i.am
Best Album – Jennifer Hudson – "Jennifer Hudson"
Fiction – "In the Night of the Heat: A Tennyson Hardwick Novel," Blair Underwood, Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes Nonfiction – "Letter to My Daughter," Maya Angelou Debut Author – "Barack, Race, and the Media: Drawing My Own Conclusion," David Glenn Brown Biography/Autobiography – "The Legs are the Last to Go," Diahann Carroll
Instructional – "32 Ways to Be a Champion in Business," Earvin "Magic" Johnson
Poetry – "Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of 'Poetry With a Beat' " Nikki Giovanni
Children – "Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope," Nikki Grimes (illustrator – Bryan Collier)
Youth/Teens – "Letters to a Young Sister: Define Your Destiny," Hill Harper