The stars were out for the NAACP awards Saturday night at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in California. Hosted by funny man Anthony Anderson, the NAACP Awards put the spotlight on the winners shinning achievements for African-Americans.
The awards were established in 1967 during the civil rights movement and seek to celebrate the achievements and performances of people of color in the arts and those individuals or groups who promote social justice their creative undertakings.
There are 54 categories. They span fields such as motion picture, television, music and literature. For the motion picture category 12 Years a Slave took home the prize. It was a category that was deep with amazing films. For most of the year the leading men in four of the five nominated films were neck and neck in a race for best actor nominations for the Oscars. Hollywood was abuzz as Chiwetel Ejiofer, Michael B. Jordan, Forest Whitaker and Idris Elba dominated the headlines. Oprah Winfrey even had a special highlighting each man on her OWN network. However, Ejiofer would be the only one to get the actual nomination. Overall, it was a strong and historic year for African-American leading men.
Forest Whitaker not only was nominated for an acting award was also honored with the NAACP Chairman’s Award. The honor recognizes distinguished public serve through the arts. Whitaker founded the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative. He serves as the chairman of the International Institute for Peace and he is a key member of the Committee on the Arts and humanities established by President Obama. Whitaker spoke about his commitment to service and using his art to deepen his connection to humanity.
Another highlight of the evening was the tribute to Nelson Mandela by Stevie Wonder and Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey spoke about how Mandela’s inspiration can lead as an example to the world.
The NAACP Awards does not just honor established stars but up-and-comers as well. In the world of literature a bold new voice was honored when author Sheri Booker won for outstanding literary work by a debut author. Booker is a teacher at a Baltimore elementary school. Her memoir entitled Nine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner City Funeral Home tells her story of the time she spent working at the Wylie Funeral Home in West Baltimore. The excitement that she expressed added to the celebratory mood of the night.
The NAACP Awards red carpet is legendary for highlighting shinning stars and their winning attitudes. Kerry Washington comes to mind as she showed off her baby bump under her stunning gown. Washington won her fifth image award for her role on one of TV’s hottest dramas, Scandal. Other notable winners were Steve Harvey for his Talk show and David Oyelowo as the best supporting actor for his role in Lee Daniels: The Butler. In his acceptance speech Oyelowo, who is British, even made fun of his accent. After such a stellar event, it is sure that many fans cannot wait for next year’s NAACP Awards to shine and the winners to be announced.
Editorial by Tony Bowers
Los Angeles Times