The broadcast opened with a take-off on the group NWA, Niggas with Attitudes featuring Anthony Anderson performing a clever rewrite of Straight Outta Compton called, Straight Outta of Hollywood. The lyrics spoke to the lack of diversity demonstrated this year in Hollywood. The performance got a standing ovation.
Anthony then welcomed the audience and viewers to the program and said, “This is what diversity is supposed to look like.”
During his monologue he mentioned Will and Jada in the audience and said, “They better be here with all the ‘ish’ they started.”
Anthony also joked that the first presenter was Stacy Dash. Of course that’s a joke. “She’s Ann Coulter in butterscotch … Get back to those C movies you used to do. I promise I will come and see them.”
He did get serious for a moment and mentioned the issue in Flint Michigan and the donations that people have made toward the water crisis.
Outstanding Actress Image Award
Anthony then introduced the first presenters, calling them the O’Shea Jackson’s. O’Shea Jackson Jr. and his father Ice Cube took the stage to present the award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. The Award went to Sanaa Lathan for The Perfect Guy. Her seventh nomination and her seventh win. “The love and support I get from you guys lifts me up. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
They teased the Entertainer of the Year Award, and the first nominee for the award is Michael B. Jordan.
Kerry Washington and Gina Rodriguez were the next to present for the category of Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. The Image Award went to Anthony Anderson for Black-ish, his second Image Award for the show. He thanked God for his gift. He dedicated the award to his wife and thanked the cast of the show. “I’m going to wrap up, but I can stay out here, because I’m the host of the show.”
Anthony’s win followed a highlight clip of Straight Outta of Compton.
A quick vignette on Misty Copeland for Entertain of the Year was the next quick vignette.
Anthony continued by jokingly throwing his cell phone to Will Smith in the audience and saying, “Put your real cell phone number in there.”
Gabrielle Union and Keegan-Michael Key were the next presenters. They presented the category of Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series, and the Image Award went to Tracee Ellis Ross for Black-ish, her fifth win. “I’m going to take a deep breath and breathe in this moment, and not just this moment this room, this beautiful room.” She was the first winner to be played off during her lively acceptance speech.
Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Morris Chestnut introduced the category of Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. The Image Award went to Taraji P. Henson for Empire. Speaking on the diversity issue she said, “We’ve been enough and we always will be enough. Thank you.”
“Dope” was the next video vignette and was introduced by its star Shameik Moore.
The President’s Award
Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP presented The President’s Award to John Legend. Legend is a nine-time Grammy Award winner, and an Oscar and Golden Globe winner. He also has string of 10 platinum selling albums.
Jussie Smollett of Empire started the tribute by singing one of John’s songs, Ordinary People, and ended by saying, “John I love you. God Bless you.” Alice Smith followed and sang John’s Oscar winner, Glory.
John Legend walked to a piano on stage and performed another one of his hits, All of Me. He got a standing ovation, and President Brooks returned to the stage to present him the Image Award trophy.
John began his acceptance speech by saying, “I accept this award with humility and gratitude.” John continued and addressed racism in the country and issues effecting disenfranchised people and said, “Our lives matter just as much as anyone else … Let’s spread love, let’s not waste it … Thank you very much.”
Tika Sumpter and Ken Jeong were the next presenters for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, and the Image Award went to Terrence Howard. His fourth win out of eight nominations. He thanked his cast, Lee Daniels, his wife, the fans, and said, “Of the work we do, maintain your ownership.”
Star of Creed, Sylvester Stallone came out to major cheers and introduced a clip from the movie Creed.
Outstanding Comedy Series was the next category and the Image Award went to Black-ish. It was a big night for Black-ish. Even the young cast members came to the stage and the real family members of some of the cast. The stage was completely full. “Thank you ABC.”
Will Smith smiled from the audience as the next movie clip preview aired for Concussion.
Tom Joyner presented the in Memoriam segment of all the performers, athletes, educators and civil rights activist we’ve lost since the last Image Awards ceremony. The video piece was thoughtfully woven to voices of Natalie Cole and her father Nat King Cole singing Unforgettable.
The Chairman’s Award
The Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, Roslyn M. Brock presented this years distinguished NAACP Chairman’s Award to Eight winners. All were honored for special achievement and distinguished public service. Those winners are Brittany “Bree” Newsome, Justice League NYC, Concerned Student 1950 Collective at the University of Missouri, Columbia, The University of Mississippi NAACP College Chapter, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, Rev. Dr. Jamal Harrison Bryant and Jussie Smollett. All the winners stood together on and held their fits in the air in unison of symbolic acceptance of this distinguished honor.
Outstanding Drama Series was the next category, and the Image Award went to Empire. A very big night for the Empire cast and Lee Daniels.
Abraham Attah from Beasts of No Nation received a standing ovation when he came to the stage to preview a clip of from that incredibly moving film.
Viola Davis was next and she also got a standing ovation and she said, “Thank you that’s very sweet. The category was Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture, and the Image Award went to Michael B. Jordon for Creed. His first Image Award. “Thank you guys so much.” He thanked God, his father, mother, brother, sister, and his fans before being played off the stage.
Birth of a Nation Nate Parker received rousing applause for his film before introducing the nominees for Outstanding Motion Picture. The Image Award went to Straight Outta of Compton. Director F. Gary Gary said he was really surprised to win and thanked the NAACP for the honor. “Without you riding for us for the last one hundred years we would not be standing here.”
The big award of the night is Entertainer of the Year Award and Taraji P. Henson did the honors of announcing the nominees and the winner. The Award went to Michael B. Jordon. He could not believe it. He said, “I forgot to thank my director the last time I was up here.” “I thought it was a typo me in this category.” “I’m proud to be Black in this room…This is crazy. I love you all.”
The 47th NAACP Image Awards was a good night and a great program. The after parties are going to be amazing!
See you next year.