NAACP Image Awards LogoAnthony Anderson of black-ish took the reigns again at the 48th Annual NAACP Image Awards. His fourth consecutive year at the helm. Broadcast live from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles, the program opened with Andra Day singing her mega hit Rise Up as poignant images flashed on the scene behind her. Great images of President Obama and Michelle Obama as a tribute, including a man holding a sign that read,”Thank You President Obama.”

When Anthony took the stage he announced that he had, “OSA, Obama Separation Anxiety.” He followed with, “they gave us eight great years so let’s applaud that.”

He joked about “Hidden Fences,” the mistake some people made between the two films “Hidden Figures” and “Fences.”

He called out Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in the audience and teased Viola about her “snort bubble” in the film Fences, “I wanted to wipe the screen.”

He went light on the current administration, but did mention “Alternative facts.”

Anthony spoke of triumph and tragedies in the world today and ended with we needed to have, “The audacity of hope.”

He introduced Taraji P. Henson as the first presenter for the category of Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. The NAACP Image Award went to Denzel Washington. No surprise there. He received a standing ovation. He honored August Wilson and said it was a joy to bring his brilliance to the screen. He gave an uplifting speech about many of the honored actors and actresses in the audience. His message; to keep moving forward and never give up.

The next presenter was Trevor Noah from the The Daily Show. He joked that he had to hurry up because, “I’m black and I’m an immigrant so I don’t have much time.” His category was Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series. The NAACP Image Award went to Tracee Ellis Ross for black-ish. It was her sixth time winning this category. She thanked the NAACP and ended with, “I don’t no what else to say … thank you.”

Sterling K. Brown and Mandy Moore were the next presenters of the category of Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. The Image Award went to Taraji P. Henson for Empire. This was her seventh win. “You’re not tired of me yet, Cookie? No?” She honored the women in her category and thanked the NAACP.

Outstanding Comedy Series was next and the NAACP Image Award went to black-ish. Really no surprise there either. Producer, Kenya Barris spoke for the program and was very thankful the audience has always been supportive of their show.

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Image Award went to Sterling K. Brown for This Is Us, his first win. He was visually surprised and thanked the NAACP and his cast and crew.

Octavia Spencer was the next presenter, but couldn’t see and smiled and welcomed the audience until she could and said, “OK, thank you Jesus.” She introduced the video vignette on her film Hidden Figures.

The 2017 NAACP Chairman’s Award went to Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor at Harvard Law School. He kept his acceptance speech short. He said, “I am honored to receive this amazing award. Thank you very much.”

John Legend performed his new song Surefire from his album Darkness and Light.

President and CEO of NAACP, Cornell Williams Brooks honored Dr. Lonnie G. Bunch III, the architect of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. He received the 2017 NAACP Presidents Award. He said he was honored and humbled to receive it and said, “There is nothing more noble than honoring all of our ancestors by remembering.”

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series was next and the NAACP Image Award went to Anthony Anderson for black-ish, his third win. Again, no surprise. He described himself as, “Just a kid from Compton with a dream and an imagination.”

Outstanding Drama Series was next and the NAACP Image Award went to Queen Sugar. Now that was a surprise!

The In Memoriam segment followed and reminded us how much talent and knowledge has passed away.

The 2017 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture went to Taraji P. Henson for Hidden Figures. And she was right back on stage again, because Hidden Figures won for Outstanding Motion Picture. Congratulations to Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae for a great film.

Anthony Announced the winner of the Entertainer of the Year Award himself, and the NAACP Image Award went to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. “This award is dedicated to my grandfather and my father, two men of color.”

Anthony followed with a quick, “Goodnight,” to a pretty tame program with few surprised, but still a good time.

Tanya Hart

Follow me on Twitter at: @TanyaHollywood

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