Culture | April 18th, 2023
A Night with True Excellence
By: Robert Tucker II
Many award shows commemorate Hollywood’s biggest stars. However, there are specific galas that display true black excellence in every way. This award show, the NAACP Image Awards, is an annual ceremony presented by the National Advancement of Colored People to appreciate and acknowledge outstanding leaders within different communities and honor outstanding performances in television, film production, music, and spoken word.
The 54th annual NAACP Image Awards was a show to remember. CBS is the television broadcast company that aired the show, previously another television network in 2021.
According to yahoo.com, the NAACP Image Awards grew its audience by 72% compared to last year. The award show was held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, 10 miles outside Los Angeles. On social media, more than 10.4% generated interactions, 1658% more than last year.
Many significant, influential figures were present at the award show. It was a star-studded event from Zendaya, Viola Davis, and Johnathan Majors to the entire cast of Abbott Elementary.
Many stars took home some hardware for their accomplishments within specific categories. Quinta Brunson, the creator and lead role of Abbott Elementary, received the Outstanding Actress in a comedy series award. Will Smith received the Outstanding Actor in motion picture for his stellar performance in Emancipation. Nicco Annan received the Outstanding Actor in a drama series for his role as “Uncle Clifford” in the hit show P-Valley.
However, the star of the award ceremony was only Angela Bassett. Bassett was taking over the play by receiving three of the awards show most prominent awards. She received the Outstanding Actress in a drama series for the hit television show “9-1-1”, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and NAACP Entertainer of the Year.
There were awards given to some of the world’s most influential people that have inspired or worked diligently for their communities. Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union received the prestigious President’s Award at this year’s ceremony. They both created an uplifting speech regarding sharing love and positivity toward African Americans who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“I am intentional when I use my platform. I recognize what I have been given, and it is my job to uplift the voices of others and share my access and resources,” Wade said.
These were the words that the legendary NBA basketball player used to reference his experience of unconditional love in any circumstance with his 15-year-old child, Zaya.
Union, an award-winning actress and Wade’s wife, also spoke about how older and current generations must display love.
“A new era that demands our collective answer to one simple question: Will we fight for some, or will we fight for all of our people?” Union said. “Even as we demand equality at the top of our lungs, we consistently fail to extend our advocacy to protect some of our most vulnerable among us.”
Another historical figure who was honored at the award show is Attorney Benjamin Crump. Attorney Crump received the NAACP Social Justice Impact Award. It was acknowledged for over three decades, Attorney Crump has fought for the rights of African Americans to be financially compensated due to the unjust acts of discrimination, police brutality, and unfair treatment against minorities.
Last but certainly not least, during the award ceremony, WNBA Basketball star Britney Griner and her wife, Cherelle, received a standing ovation. Britney was arrested in Russia after the airport security team discovered less than a gram of cannabis oil in vape cartridges. She spent ten months incarcerated in a Russian prison and returned to the United States in a prison swap with Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in early December of 2022.
Many were overjoyed to see Griner back in a positive mood and all the other honorees from this night filled with black excellence.