The NAACP Image Awards were on last Friday night (3/2).
I recorded the show and planned to watch it after dinner, but I had a long nap in my chair, so the show watched me, instead of the opposite.
I got to watch it on Saturday, and here is my recap of the show:
If you aren't familiar with the NAACP image awards, just know that the premise is to honor excellence in the entertainment industry by people-of-color. Clear?
LL Cool J was the host for the evening, and he got everything started by thanking the NAACP Chairman, Julian Bond for inviting him to host, since Bond had been looking for a "clean, articulate person to host the show.... and since Barack Obama was busy...", LL got the call to host in his place. Funny.
This year the show was broadcast live for the first time... and on FOX, no less!
While LL made his opening remarks, he made note of music mogul Russell Simmons "Hey Russell!, Nice suit". This was because Simmons, for some reason, decided to attend this formal event wearing a striped rugby shirt along with his signature "too-big for-the-size-of-his-head baseball cap" I have to ask what was going through your mind as you got dressed Russell? Look, we know that you are short, we know that you are nearly bald. Wearing that hat won't make anyone not notice these things. Besides, dude, when you are as wealthy as you are, no one would dare say rude things to you (to your face anyway). Can we say "insecure in public?"
LL continued his audience scan and immediately singled out Bill Cosby for some applause, followed by recognizing CNN anchor, Soledad O'Brien. He finished by acknowledging the work of the various nominees.
Randy Jackson and Smokey Robinson present the award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role: which was won by Jennifer Hudson. Hudson, as usual, looked great.
Megan Good and Columbus short (who both starred in "Stomp The Yard") presented the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role to Djimon Hounsou for "Blood Diamonds"
Commercial break... look! There is a new Chris Rock movie coming out called: "I think I love my wife"… it looks VERY funny.
OK, we're back! Bruce S. Gordon (President of the NAACP )& Kerry Washington are introduced to present the President's Award to Soledad O'Brien for her excellence in news coverage. Now I have to speak plainly here... until two weeks ago, I never knew that Soledad O'Brien was biracial. Did you all know that?
Anyway, India.Arie sang "I Am Not My Hair" before the presentation. I'm not sure what that had to do with an award for Soledad O'Brien, but no worries. Ms. Arie was did a forceful job with that song... which was all about identity.
Next, Lisa Rae McCoy-Bisset (that's a mouthful, isn't it?) and Dwayne Martin Present awards for Best Supporting Actor/Actress in a Series to: Omar Eppps (House), and Chanda Wilson (Gray's Anatomy).
The same presenters also gave the Best Actress in a Drama Series award to: Kimberly Elise (Close To Home).
NOTE: Jennifer Beals was a nominee in this category for her role in the L Word. I didn't know that she was black... or bi-racial, I guess. Did you?
Bernie Mac and Nia Long were next, and they presented the Best Actor in a Drama Series award to Isaiha Washington for Gray's anatomy.
Note: In solidarity with the brothers and sisters of the Gay & Lesbian community, I condemn this award based on Washington's poor behavior over the past months... good actor or not. Considering that these awards are for people of color that create a positive image, I don't understand how someone with clear homophobic attitudes can be considered as such. Calling someone faggot is the same as calling someone a nigger. I don't like it, and it should never be excused. I'm not asking anyone to love me or hate me for the opinion here, but there it is.
Raven Symone (The Cosby Show & That's So Raven) and KeKe Palmer (Akeelah and The Bee) inducted Bill Cosby into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame. Well done, and well deserved. Bravo Cosby!
Bad tempered Uber-Model Naomi Campbell and Mo'nique (whats up with that spelling?) present the Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series to Tracee Ellis-Ross, for "Girlfriends". Nice speech, but I have never heard of this show.
Vanessa Williams and Dennis Haysbert ("are you in good hands?"... sorry, I couldn't resist) presented the next few awards: Outstanding Supporting Actor/Actress in a Comedy Series went to Reggie Hayes for "Girlfriends" and Vanessa Williams "Ugly Betty"
They also presented the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series award to Tyler James Williams for "Everybody Hates Chris"
Jessie L. Martin and S. Epatha Merkerson are next, presenting the awards for Best Drama to "Gray's Anatomy", and Best Comedy to "Ugly Betty"
The cameras pause to pan the crowd… everyone looks so nice… except for Russell Simmons.
Comment: LL You look good, dude, but lose the fedora, please.
Anika Noni Rose and Hill Harper the awards for Outstanding Album to "Dreamgirls", and Best Song to my new friend India.Arie for "I Am Not My Hair".
The award for Outstanding Male Artist went to His Purple Majesty: Prince.
Tracee Ellis Ross and Russel Simmons Presented the award for Outstanding Female Artist to Mary J. Blige I was rooting for Corrine Bailey Rae, but I am sure that Mary is worthy.
NAACP Chairman Julian Bond and Tyra Banks presented the The Chairman's award honor Bono for all of his work aimed at reducing hunger and poverty in Africa.
In his acceptance speech, Bono said: "True religion will not let us fall asleep in the comfort of our freedom. Love thy neighbor is not a piece of advice, it's a command!... and that means that in the global village, we're gonna have to start lovin' a lot more people. His truth is marching on!" (Holy smokes! Is Bono a Baptist preacher all of a sudden? You should have heard him preach!) "God is with the poor, and God is with US if WE are with THEM!" (Please follow the link and watch it yourself... the most important part comes at about 4 minutes in. I dare you to watch it and be indifferent).
Amen, Bono! Lay it down, brother!
Tyler Perry with some child actresses presented the award for Outstanding actress in a motion picture to young KeKe Palmer for "Akeelah and The Bee">
Louis Gossett Jr. & Sana Latham (From Nip/Tuck) presented the award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture to Forrest Whitaker, for his role as Idi Amin, in "The Last King of Scotland" Whitaker had only been speaking for about 10 seconds when the music started playing... I guess the schedule was really tight.
Kimberly Elise and Terrence Howard presented the evening's last award for Outstanding Motion Picture The winner was "The Pursuit of Happyness"
I enjoyed this show much more than I thought I would, mainly because in years past, the production seemed even more ponderous than the Oscars, if you can possibly dig that.
And there's an end.