NAACP Image Awards

NAACP Image Awards
Photo: NBC Universal
A NAACP Image Award is an honor awarded by the American National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to recognize outstanding achievement of people of color in film, television, music and literature. It is regarded as the country's preeminent multicultural award from an African American viewpoint.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909 to fight for the political, educational, social, and economic equality rights of the African American population. Although today “colored” is not regarded as a politically correct term (the term “people of color” or “persons of color” is used instead), the NAACP haven’t changed its name, citing that it was the most positive description commonly used when the association was founded.

The NAACP Image Awards ceremony was first presented in 1967 to honor outstanding people of color in film, television, music, and literature. The award ceremony has been held annually ever since (except for 1973 when there was no ceremony). It typically takes place in late February or early March, near the end of the annual awards season. The event was first nationally broadcast with tape delay in 1994 on the Fox Network and the first live broadcast of the ceremony occurred in 2007.

There are over 50 categories in four major fields: motion picture, television, music and literature. Similar to other awards, like the Academy Awards and the Grammys, winners are selected by a vote of NAACP members. There are also several honorary awards including the Chairman’s Award, President’s Award, Hall of Fame Award, Vanguard Award, and Entertainer of the Year.

The NAACP Image Awards have been the subject of controversy for the choice of nominees. For instance, in 1994, Tupac Shakur was nominated for a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture following sexual assault charges several months prior. A similar situation involved R. Kelly who was nominated in 2004 following charges related to child pornography.

Despite all controversy, the NAACP Image Awards are regarded among the most prestigious American awards. Honorees, presenters, performers and social justice advocates have including many of the major celebrities as well as important political figures.

NAACP Image Awards

Photo: Jason Meritt/Getty Images



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