NAACP Image Awards

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NAACP Image Awards
Current: 55th NAACP Image Awards
Awarded forExcellence in film, television, theatre, music, and literature
CountryUnited States
Presented by NAACP
First awardedAugust 13, 1967;56 years ago (1967-08-13)
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The NAACP Image Awards is an annual awards ceremony presented by the U.S.-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to honor outstanding performances in film, television, theatre, music, and literature. The over 40 categories of the Image Awards are voted on by the NAACP members. Honorary awards (similar to the Academy Honorary Award) have also been included, such as the President's Award, the Chairman's Award, the Entertainer of the Year, the Activist of the Year, and the Hall of Fame Award. Beyoncé is the All-Time leading winner with 25 wins as a solo artist.



The award ceremony was first organized and presented on August 13, 1967, by activists Maggie Hathaway, Sammy Davis Jr. and Willis Edwards, all three of whom were leaders of the Beverly Hills-Hollywood NAACP branch. [1] [2] While it was first taped for television by NBC (which broadcast the awards from 1987 to 1994 in January, on weeks when Saturday Night Live wasn't airing a new episode), it would only be broadcast in primetime beginning in 1996. Due to changes in timing of the awards, there was no awards ceremony held the following years: 1973, as the timing was changed to honor a full calendar year early in the following year (reverted to a "late-in-year" ceremony for 1981–1990); 1991, as the timing returned too late in a calendar year to honor that same year; 1995.

The first live broadcast of the awards, also on the Fox Network, occurred in 2007 for its 38th edition (up until 2007, the ceremony had been broadcast with tape delay) and the annual ceremonies usually take place in or around the Los Angeles area, in February or early March. The 44th edition aired on NBC. Sources have had trouble verifying the winners in the top categories from 1983 to 1995.

The New York firm Society Awards manufactures the trophy since its redesign in 2008.

Cultural impact

The NAACP Image awards has been widely accepted and dubbed as the "Black Oscars/Emmy/ Grammy " award show from the African American and Latino community, as it is an important prestigious award celebrating artists and entertainers of color that may have been overlooked from by the mainstream film, television, theater and music award counterparts (E.G.O.T.) due to racial seclusion or lack of interests from film and television studios. Whereas, it created more exposure for content on a wide spectrum of urban media versus other awards shows where they can be celebrated and appreciated. Actors such as Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Taraji P. Henson and many others expressed the differences of not being visually seen by the industry's standard and how artists and entertainers should look to the NAACP Image Awards as the highest achievement. The campaign of #OscarSoWhite began as a protest after seeing the lack of people of color being nominated or win in major categories at the Academy Awards. Since then, minor adjustments have been made for inclusion as more people of color have become nominated and win at the mainstream prestigious award ceremonies. Today, the NAACP Image Awards is what many people of color look forward to as "the one that matters". [3]

Event dates and locations

1stAugust 13, 1967 [2] The Beverly Hilton
2ndSeptember 22, 1968 [4] The Beverly Hilton
3rdOctober 11, 1969 [5]
4thNovember 15, 1970 [6]
5thNovember 21, 1971 [7]
6thNovember 18, 1972 [8]
1973 - not presented, timing changed to have achievements of a calendar year honored early in following year
7thJanuary 19, 1974 Hollywood Palladium
8thJanuary 18, 1975
9thFebruary 7, 1976
10thApril 24, 1977
11thJune 9, 1978
12thJanuary 27, 1979Hollywood Palladium
13thJanuary 27, 1980 [9] Louis Gossett Jr./Rita Moreno/Ted Lange/Benjamin Hooks/Valenti
14thDecember 5, 1981 Robert Guillaume
(note: timing changed, achievements of 1980/81 were honored late in 1981)
Hollywood Palladium
15thDecember 1982 Jayne Kennedy/George Peppard/Michael Warren
16thDecember 4, 1983 Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
17thDecember 1984
18thDecember 1985
19thDecember 13, 1986 Debbie Allen/Denzel Washington
20thDecember 1987 Denzel Washington/Debbie Allen
21stDecember 1988
22ndDecember 9, 1989
23rdDecember 9, 1990
1991 - not presented, timing changed to have achievements of a calendar year honored early in following year
24thJanuary 11, 1992 Pasadena Civic Auditorium
25th January 16, 1993
26th January 5, 1994
1995 - not presented, financial concerns [10]
27thApril 6, 1996 Whitney Houston/Denzel Washington Pasadena Civic Auditorium
28thFebruary 8, 1997 Arsenio Hall, Patti LaBelle
29thFebruary 14, 1998 Vanessa L. Williams, Gregory Hines
30thFebruary 14, 1999 Mariah Carey, Blair Underwood [11]
31stFebruary 12, 2000 Diana Ross
32ndFebruary 23, 2001 Chris Tucker Universal Amphitheatre
33rdMarch 3, 2002
34thMarch 8, 2003 Cedric the Entertainer
35th March 6, 2004 Tracee Ellis Ross/Golden Brooks/Persia White/Jill Marie Jones
36th March 19, 2005 Chris Tucker Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
37th February 26, 2006 Cuba Gooding Jr. Shrine Auditorium
38th March 2, 2007 LL Cool J
39th February 14, 2008 D. L. Hughley
40th February 12, 2009 [12] Halle Berry/Tyler Perry
41st February 26, 2010 Anika Noni Rose/Hill Harper
42ndMarch 4, 2011 [13] Wayne Brady/Holly Robinson Peete
43rd February 17, 2012 Sanaa Lathan/Anthony Mackie
44th February 1, 2013 Steve Harvey
45th February 22, 2014 Anthony Anderson [14] Pasadena Civic Auditorium
46th February 6, 2015
47th February 5, 2016
48th February 11, 2017
49th January 15, 2018
50th March 30, 2019 Dolby Theatre
51st February 22, 2020 Pasadena Civic Auditorium
52nd March 27, 2021Virtual
53rd February 26, 2022
54th February 25, 2023 Queen Latifah Pasadena Civic Auditorium [15]
55th March 16, 2024 [16] Shrine Auditorium


In 1987, the NAACP came under fire for dropping their Best Actress award for that year. They defended this position, citing a lack of meaningful roles for Black women. [17] In 1990, they were criticized once again for not awarding Best Actress. [18] This was the fourth time it could not find enough nominees for Best Actress. [18] Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the organization's Beverly Hills/Hollywood branch, said, "The [film] industry has yet to show diversity or present realistic leading roles for African-American women." [18]

In several instances, nominees have been perceived as “undeserving” or “unworthy” of recognition by members of the media, fellow celebrities, as well as the general public; in their own defense, some NAACP representatives have stated that the overall quality of an artist's work is the salient issue. This would render certain factors, such as criminal charges or the nominee’s past, being inconsequential in this regard. For example, in 1994, rapper Tupac Shakur was nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture (for Poetic Justice ), despite sexual assault charges being filed against him in December 1993. [19] Furthermore, Shakur had been accused of felony counts of forcible sodomy and unlawful detainment in New York City; a woman alleged that he and two male accomplices held her captive, in a hotel room, and restricted her movements, holding her down as a fourth accomplice sodomized her. [20] Shakur was also indicted for two counts of aggravated assault, in an unrelated incident, in which he supposedly shot and wounded two off-duty police officers. [20] The same year, Martin Lawrence was criticized for winning Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Comedy Series for Martin , after the show was maligned for its sexual content. [20] In 2004, R. Kelly's Chocolate Factory was nominated for Outstanding Album [21] while he was under indictment for charges related to child pornography. [22]

Other nominees have faced controversy due to their portrayals of major civil rights figures. In 2003, the comedy film Barbershop received five nominations, including Outstanding Motion Picture and Outstanding Supporting Actor (for Cedric the Entertainer's performance); during the film, Cedric's character makes pejorative remarks about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Michael Jackson, and Jesse Jackson. This content elicited criticism, including Parks' refusal to attend the ceremony. [23] Hip-hop group OutKast received six nominations in 2004, and criticism soon followed—for both them and the NAACP—due to the name of one of their songs being “Rosa Parks”. The song had resulted in Parks suing OutKast for defamation over use of her name. [22]

Award categories

Motion picture





Special awards

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  2. 1 2 "NAACP Will Present Nine Image Awards" . Los Angeles Times . August 7, 1967. p. 74 via
  3. Reporter, Scott Collins Scott Collins is a former staff reporter for the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times He joined the staff in 2004 after previous stints at the Hollywood; CNN, Inside com Author of the book “Crazy Like a Fox: The Inside Story of How Fox News Beat; TV, ” he is a frequent pop-culture expert on national; Shows, Radio; in 2016, industry panels He left The Times (February 6, 2016). "NAACP Image Awards highlight the power of diversity". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 18, 2024.{{cite web}}: |last2= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. "NAACP to Confer Honors at Beverly Hilton Fete" . Valley Times (of North Hollywood). San Fernando Valley Times Co. August 6, 1968. p. 7 via
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  8. "NAACP Honors Black Performers" . The Palm Beach Post . November 20, 1972 via
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  15. "2024 NAACP IMAGE AWARDS VIP". VIP Concierge. Retrieved December 15, 2023.
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  19. "Michael Jackson makes surprise appearance at NAACP Image Awards". Jet . January 24, 1994. Retrieved September 29, 2006.
  20. 1 2 3 Leonardi, Marisa (January 7, 1994). "Shakur Questionably nominated". LA Times. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  21. Wiederhorn, Jon (January 8, 2004). "Outkast, Beyoncé, R. Kelly Nominated For NAACP Image Awards". Archived from the original on February 4, 2004. Retrieved September 29, 2006.
  22. 1 2 "Paula Zahn Now: Can Democrats Challenge Kerry?; NAACP Controversy; California Death Penalty Debate". January 28, 2004. Retrieved September 29, 2006.
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