Ava DuVernay, Daniel Kaluuya and the cast of ABC’s Black-ish were among the big winners at a politcally-charged NAACP Image Awards ceremony Monday evening.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A jubilant Ava DuVernay was named entertainer of the year at an NAACP Image Awards ceremony that focused on the black community’s power to create change.
DuVernay lauded other black artists from the stage as she accepted her award Monday night, naming writers and directors such as Shonda Rhimes, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Kenya Barris and “Black Panther” Ryan Coogler.
“This is our time,” DuVernay said. “We can say we were here when all this gorgeous art was happening, and that we supported it — that we lifted each other up, that we did as Dr. King said we would do: Live the dream. We’re the dream.”
Producer Will Packer took a dig at President Donald Trump’s recent comments about immigration as the producer accepted an award for “Girls Trip,” which won for outstanding film.
“Sisters, especially the ones from Haiti and Africa, we love you as your brothers,” he said.
The six women declared support for the Time’s Up initiative to stop sexual harassment and gender discrimination and urged viewers to speak up at the polls as well.
“The midterms are a perfect moment for us to use our voices,” Robinson said. “If we can take back a senate seat in Alabama…”
“Then we have the ability to shift the imbalance of power,” Smollet-Bell said.
Barris’ show “black-ish” was the night’s big winner. The ABC hit was named best comedy series and took acting honors for stars Ross and Anderson.
“It’s an extraordinary thing to be able to show what a beautiful black family looks like on television,” Ross said as the cast accepted the comedy series honor.
“Power” was named best drama series, and star Omari Hardwick won for dramatic actor.
Other winners included “Gifted” actress Octavia Spencer and “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson, who were both absent, and Daniel Kaluuya, who won for his leading role in “Get Out.”
“I don’t think you’re allowed to beat Denzel Washington in acting competitions,” said Kaluuya, who bested Washington for the prize. The 28-year-old actor thanked his mom and “Get Out” writer-director Jordan Peele.
“So many people didn’t believe in me, and you did, and you made all of us feel included,” Kaluuya said. “Thank you so much for letting us be seen.”
NAACP president Derrik Johnson asked viewers to text in their pledge to vote in 2018 before presenting the President’s Award to Danny Glover.
Glover was recognized for his professional and philanthropic contributions, particularly his work with the United Nations and his advocacy for labor unions.
Glover spoke specifically of a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, where 80 percent of employees are black, that has yet to organize.
“Civil rights and labor rights have always been one and the same,” he said.
The special awards provided some of the night’s most poignant moments.
Halle Berry talked about the significance of presenting the NAACP Image Awards on Martin Luther King Jr. day.
“We need to take heed to his eloquent words: ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter,’” she said. “Today is an affirmation that we will never ever, ever, ever be silent again.”
She presented the Music Makes a Difference award to Charlie Wilson, who talked about his road from addiction and homelessness to musical success and philanthropy.
He said he prayed and promised that if he could survive the streets, he would return to serve others. Wilson said Monday that he has been sober for 22 years and is focused on helping homeless addicts.
Labor organizer William Lucy received the Chairman’s Award for his more than 40 years of service. Beyond his union leadership, Lucy was also an activist who fought apartheid in South Africa.
He dedicated his award to the Memphis sanitation workers who went on strike in 1968, several of whom were in the audience at the Image Awards. King spoke to the striking employees the night before he was assassinated.
Another arresting moment in the show came during singer Andra Day’s chilling performance of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit.” Rapper Common joined her for their song “Stand Up for Something,” and the whole audience rose to its feet.
The Television Winners
Comedy series: “black-ish”
Drama series: “Power”
Actor, comedy: Anthony Anderson, “black-ish”
Actress, comedy: Tracee Ellis Ross, “black-ish”
Actor, drama: Omari Hardwick, “Power”
Actress, drama: Taraji P. Henson, “Empire”
Supporting actor, comedy series: Jay Ellis, “Insecure”
Supporting actress, comedy series: Marsai Martin, “’black-ish”
Supporting actor, drama series: Joe Morton, “Scandal”
Supporting actress, drama series: Naturi Naughton, “Power”
Television movie, limited series or dramatic special: “The New Edition Story”
Actor, television movie, limited series or dramatic special: Idris Elba, “Guerrilla”
Actress, television movie, limited series or dramatic special: Queen Latifah, “Flint”
Directing, comedy series: Anton Cropper, “’black-ish”
Directing, dramatic series: Carl Franklin, “13 Reasons Why”
Directing, television movie, limited series or dramatic special: Allen Hughes, “The Defiant Ones”
Writing, comedy series: Janine Barrois, “Claws
Writing, dramatic series: Gina Prince-Bythewood, “Shots Fired”
Writing, television movie or special: Abdul Williams, “The New Edition Story”
News/information series or special: “Unsung”
Documentary: “The 44th President: In His Own Words”
Talk series: “The Real”
Reality program/reality competition series: “The Manns”
Variety or game show series or special: “Lip Sync Battle”
Children’s Program: “Doc McStuffins”
Performance by a youth (series, special, television movie or limited series): Caleb McLaughlin, “Stranger Things”
Host, talk or new/information series or special: Roland Martin, “News One Now”
Host, realit/reality competition, game show, variety series or special: LL Cool J, “Lip Sync Battle” (Spike)
Character voice-over performance: Tiffany Haddish, “Legends of Chamberlain Heights”