Assistant Spectrum Editor
The 41st annual NAACP Image Awards aired Friday, Feb. 26 from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Anika Noni Rose and Hill Harper were elegant and poised hosts for a delightful evening of triumphs, performances and congratulations.
Performers Wyclef Jean, Keri Hilson, John Legend, Tamela Mann, Jill Scott, Carlos Santana and The Roots enchanted the packed house with a range of musical genres.
Jean added an inspiring note of hope to the evening by paying homage to his fellow countrymen in Haiti, speaking in his native tongue during his performance.
The Image Awards served as an evening for up and coming stars of the big and small screen to show off the goods. However, series veterans were also present.
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” swept the major film categories winning Best Motion Picture, Outstanding Actress in Motion Picture (Gabourey Sidibe), Outstanding Supporting Actress (Mo’Nique) and Outstanding Independent Motion Picture.
Additional winners were Morgan Freeman for Best Actor in “Invictus” and Adam Rodriguez for Outstanding Supporting Actor in ”Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself.” Jada Pinkett Smith took home the award for Best Actress in her first season of the drama series “HawthoRNe.”
Perry’s combination of humor and drama has proved rewarding. His original comedy series “House of Payne” won numerous awards including Outstanding Comedy Series, Best Actress in a Comedy Series (Cassi Davis) and Best Supporting Actress (Keshia Knight Pulliam.)
Daryl “Chill” Mitchell (“Brothers”) gave a heart-warming speech when accepting his award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. Tears streamed down his face as he spoke of being grateful for every person who believed in his journey and of doing his best he could for his grandmother and family.
Keke Palmer’s excitement could not be contained as she spoke quickly about her happiness and anticipation leading up to the announcement for Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children’s Program.
The music category featured comebacks and new artists alike. Newcomer Keri Hilson took home the award for Outstanding New Artist. Maxwell received praise for his spectacular comeback with an award for Outstanding Male Artist. Whitney Houston’s evening brightened when she accepted the award for Outstanding Music Video for her single “I Look To You.” Not surprising any of her fans, Mary J. Blige received the award for Outstanding Album.
As the award show season comes to a close, viewers can only hope that the upcoming Academy Awards will be as riveting an evening as the Image Awards were.
Outstanding Song: “God In Me” – Mary Mary
Outstanding Gospel Album (Traditional or Contemporary): “Still” – BeBe & CeCe Winans
Outstanding Jazz Album: “He and She” – Wynton Marsalis
Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration: The Black Eyed Peas
Outstanding Variety: (Series or Special) - “Michael Jackson Memorial Service”
Outstanding News/Information: (Series or Special) - “The Inauguration of Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States”
Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series: Debbi Morgan – “All My Children”
Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special: Kimberly Elise – “Gifted Hands”
Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special: Cuba Gooding Jr. – “Gifted Hands”