“As soon as I know the host for the 44th NAACP Image Awards, you are one of my first calls. I respect the Amsterdam News because they have been our allies in the struggle from day one.” That’s the promise and sentiment offered, with genuine humor and affection, by Joi C. Ridley, the NAACP’s director of communications.

Forty-four award seasons and counting. It’s impressive and humbling to measure our success in such a short, blink-of-an-eye span of time.

Folks, we did it, and we keep that ball rolling in a positive direction; such is the way and legacy of people of color.

A statement in the NAACP press release stuck in my head. It affirmed that the NAACP Image Awards celebrates the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.

People of color, indeed; my biracial heart did a salsa, a jump for joy when I began to review the list of nominees.

In film, the Weinstein Co. leads with five nominations, with Lionsgate and Paramount Pictures close behind, with four each.

In television, ABC and CBS lead the nominees, with 20 and 12 nominations respectively. HBO and Lifetime offered an impressive 10; and NBC, which will air the live telecast of the Image Awards on Feb. 1, had nine.

NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock reiterated the continued value of the award and, most important, why key people and organizations are honored.

“We are proud to celebrate the artists and activists who use their craft to share positive images of our culture,” she said. “The artistic community is an important ally for social justice, and the NAACP Image Awards provide an excellent venue to recognize those who make a difference through art and activism.”

Just a few highlights and thoughts to share. Concentrating my observations in television, ABC’s “Modern Family” is an exemplary example of modern, integrated diversity.

I’ve worked with comedic actress and international businesswoman Sofia Vergara, and she’s the first to tell anyone in earshot her feelings on diversity and inclusion.

“Look, Lapca, chica–I’m a woman of color with a thick accent that’s hard to understand, so they claim!” (Sofia’s cheeky statement punctuated by a knowing wink.) “I’m not Black but I’m not white either. I’m a lush, rich, exotic caramel color, and there it is–I’m a woman of Colombian color.”

Some of the other nominees of Hispanic heritage include Hosea Chanchez for “The Game” (BET) and Erik Valdez for “General Hospital” (ABC).

We can also thank the NAACP for showing love to the “brown” race, a term that people from India and other parts of the subcontinent apply to themselves with absolute pride.

This year’s nominations celebrating brown and beige talent include “The Mindy Project” (Fox); Aziz Ansari for “Parks and Recreation” (NBC); Vali Chandrasekaran for the “30 Rock” episode “Murphy Brown Lied to Us” (NBC); and the soulfully graceful Sandra Oh on “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC).

“For 44 years, the Image Awards have recognized the best that communities of color have to offer, both in the arts and in civil rights,” NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said. “The NAACP is proud to honor all of these achievements.”

So once the details on this year’s host are revealed, the winners will be announced during the two-hour star-studded event, which will air live on Friday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on NBC.

There’s more to come on the host and juicy insider details of the 44th NAACP Image Awards. Remember, we have a promise from an NAACP soul sister.