NAACP Image Awards reflect diversity, balance, fairness

Forest Whitaker received the NAACP's Chairman's Award and Best Actor Award in a movie for "The Butler."

Forest Whitaker received the NAACP’s Chairman’s Award and Best Actor Award in a movie for “The Butler.”

By Carmen Glover

The 45th NAACP Image Awards, held on Saturday, February 22 in Pasadena, California, achieved what the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild combined failed miserably to do: honor a broad range of deserving African-Americans who showcased outstanding performances during the past year. Broadcast live for the first time on TV One, the 2014 Image Awards got off to an entertaining start with a phalanx of stars such as Judge Greg Mathis, Dennis Haysbert,Tatyana Ali and Tika Sumpter walking the red carpet. Actor Anthony Anderson hosted the event and made an effort to connect with the audience.

Oprah Winfrey delivered a tribute to late South African President Nelson Mandela.

Oprah Winfrey delivered a stirring tribute to late South African President Nelson Mandela.

Oprah Winfrey and Stevie Wonder honored the late international icon and South African President Nelson Mandela. “Nelson Mandela was a true hero. His spirit was never broken. His life was an example to us all,” Winfrey said, describing being in his presence as “sitting with the face of grace and majesty.” Stevie Wonder performed a medley of his hit songs including “Higher Ground” and “Always.”

Stevie Wonder performed a musical tribute to Nelson Mandela.

Stevie Wonder walked the red carpet and later performed a musical tribute to Nelson Mandela.

Paris Barclay and Cheryl Boone Isaacs were inducted into the Image Awards Hall of fame for achieving significant firsts: Barclay is the first African American President of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) while Boone Isaacs is the first African American President of the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs was inducted into the NAACP Image Hall of Fame.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs was inducted into the NAACP Image Hall of Fame for achieving a first.

Paris Barclay

Paris Barclay was inducted into the NAACP image Awards Hall of fame for achieving a first.

Among the winners at the venerable awards show was Oscar Award winner/director/producer Forest Whitaker, who won both the NAACP Chairman’s Award and the Best Actor award for his riveting performance in “Lee Daniels’:The Butler” which was snubbed by the other awards shows. The ever classy Whitaker acknowledged his fellow actors and said a humble “Thank you,” in accepting his award. Whitaker also starred in “Black Nativity” and produced “Fruitvale Station,” both of which were recognized during the event.

Kerry Washington won for Scandal while Lupital N'Yong'o won for "12 Years a Slave."

Kerry Washington won for Scandal while Lupital Nyong’o won for “12 Years a Slave.”

In recognition of the diverse and compelling roles that performers brought to life on the big screen, the NAACP also honored the following: “12 Years a Slave,” Outstanding Picture; Outstanding Actress, Angela Bassett for “Black Nativity”;  Lupita Nyong’o, Best Supporting Actress for her remarkable role in “12 Years a Slave.,” David Oyelowo was named Best Supporting Actor in “Lee Daniels’: The Butler;” while the riveting “Fruitvale Station” was finally recognized with a Best Independent Film award.

Kevin Hart was named Entertainer of the Year.

Kevin Hart was named Entertainer of the Year and  thanked his late mother for inspiring him.

Kevin Hart was named Entertainer of the Year, cementing his status as a star who is serious about his craft and utilizing expert marketing strategies to broaden his fan base. Hart also won two awards for television as Outstanding Actor in a comedy series and for the series itself in “Real Husbands of Hollywood.”  A solemn and visibly moved Hart walked to the stage, paused, then said: “First of all I gotta thank God,” as he accepted the final award of the night. He thanked his late mother and said: “I’m a mama’s boy but my mother passed away and is not here to share it with me but I know she’s smiling down on me right now.”

Idris Elba finally gets love, walking off with a Best Actor Award for the television show "Luther."

Idris Elba finally gets some  love, walking off with a Best Actor Award for the television show “Luther.”

The television categories were nuanced and broad. Morris Chestnut won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for “Nurse Jackie,” while Brandy Norwood won for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for “The Game.” The dominant series “Scandal” was named Outstanding Drama Series with Kerry Washington winning for Outstanding  Actress in a Drama Series and her father on the show, Joe Morton, winning Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Accepting her award, Washington, who is due to give birth soon, thanked her “Gladiators” as the audience cheered.

Michael B. Jordan's film, "Fruitvale Station," was named Best Independent Film.

Michael B. Jordan’s poignant movie, “Fruitvale Station,” was named Best Independent Film.

L.L. Cool J won Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Taraji P. Henson won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for “Person of Interest” while Wendy Raquel Robinson won Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series. Idris Elba did not go home empty-handed, winning Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special for “Luther,” while Gabrielle Union won the female equivalent. Kristoff St. John and Tatyana Ali, won Best Actor and Actress, respectively, in a Daytime Drama Series, for their performances on “The Young and the Restless”

Dr. Heny Louis Gates, Jr. won for Outstanding News/Information (Series of Special) for “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Steve Harvey’s syndicated show won for Outstanding Talk Series, while “Iyanla Fix My Life” won for Outstanding Reality Series. “Black Girls Rock” won for Outstanding Variety Series or Special, “Wynton Marsalis: A YoungArts  MasterClass” won for Outstanding Children’s Program while China Anne McClain won Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children’s Program for “A.N.T Farm.”

Both John Legend and Robin Thicke won in the music category.

Both John Legend and Robin Thicke won in the music category.

Music was a mixed bag with K. Michele named Outstanding New Artist, John Legend named Outstanding Male Artist and Beyoncé named Outstanding Female Artist. Robin Thicke’s controversial “Blurred Lines,” featuring T.I and Pharrell, won for Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration. “The Songs of Stevie Wonder-SF Jazz Collective” was named Outstanding Jazz Album, Tamela Mann’s “Best Days Deluxe Edition” was named Outstanding Gospel Album, “Natalie Cole en Espanol” won Outstanding World Music Album, “Q.U.E.E.N” by Janelle Monae featuring Erykah Badu won for Outstanding Music Video, John Legend’s “All of Me” was named Outstanding Song and “Love Charlie” by Charlie Wilson won Outstanding Album.

Janele Monae was a winner at the NAACP Image Awards.

Janelle Monae was a winner at the NAACP Image Awards.

Pamela Samuels’ “Anybody’s Daughter won Outstanding Fiction; Envisioning Emancipation: Black Anericans and the End of Slavery” by Deborah Willis and Barbara Krauthamer won Outstanding Non-Fiction; Sheri Booker was named Outstanding New Author for “Nine Years Under;” “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks” by Jeanne Theoharis was named Outstanding Biography/Autobiography; “The Vegucation of Robin: How Real Food Saved My Life” by Robin Quivers won for Outstanding Instructional,;Frank X. walker’s “Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers won for Poetry; Kadir Nelson’s “Nelson Mandela” won for Outstanding Children’s Book while Tanya Lee Stone’s “Courage Has No Color, The True Story of the Triple Nickles: American’s Frist Black Paratroopers” won for Outstanding Youth/Teens.

Morris Chestnut won an award for his role in "Nurse Jackie."

Morris Chestnut won an award for his role in “Nurse Jackie.”

The NAACP Image Awards reinforce the importance of African-Americans taking the lead in celebrating their entertainers instead of leaving it up to others who will probably never truly see the vast range, texture and power embodied in African-American talent.-OnPointPress.net.

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Four exciting movies open on MLK weekend

Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in "Ride Along."

Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in “Ride Along.”

By Carmen Glover

As families spend time volunteering this weekend in honor of Martin Luther King Jr’s Holiday, four movies, featuring African-Americans, will open in theaters, offering a variety of ways to relax  “Ride Along” starring versatile actor/rapper Ice Cube and comedian Kevin Hart has generated the most buzz because it has been brilliantly marketed across multiple platforms. Having Tika Sumpter, the villainess from Tyler Perry’s television drama, “The Haves and the Have Nots” as the only female in the movie, does not hurt either.

Cuba Gooding Jr., Dennis Haysbert and LisaGay Hamilton star in the chess-themed movie "Life of a King."

Cuba Gooding Jr., Dennis Haysbert and LisaGay Hamilton star in the chess-themed movie “Life of a King.”

But don’t allow the hype of the much-promoted “Ride Along” obscure the fact that Dennis Haysbert, after a long hiatus from films, will head back to the big screen this weekend in the incredibly smart, fun and educational film “Life of a King” which tells the true story of an ex-criminal from Washington D.C, who sponsors a competitive chess club, driven by the desire to illustrate how applicable the game is to everyday life. The film co-stars Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and LisaGay Hamilton.

Samuel L. Jackson starts in the legal thriller "Reasonable Doubt."

Samuel L. Jackson starts in the legal thriller “Reasonable Doubt.”

Also returning to the big screen after a long time away is Ving Rhames, who co-stars with Mary Louise Parker and Spencer Lofranco in “Jamesy Boy,” which tells the story of redemption experienced by a misguided youth who ends up in prison. Veteran all-around acting ace Samuel Jackson appears in “Reasonable Doubt,” about a crafty District Attorney who allows another person to accept responsibility for the crime that the DA committed, with disastrous results.

Ving Rhames returns to the big screen in "Jamesy Boy."

Ving Rhames returns to the big screen in “Jamesy Boy,” which co-stars James Woods and Mary Louise Parker.

So try to weave in some movie time this weekend, to go along with the day of service and volunteerism. The films offer too much fun to pass up. -OnPointPress.net.

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