The winners of the 43rd annual NAACP Image Awards included Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Laz Alonso, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laurence Fishburne and Regina King. The two-hour live special was hosted by Sanaa Lathan and Anthony Mackie and was broadcast live on Feb. 17 from Los Angeles’ historic Shrine Auditorium.
Dressed to the nines in top fashion from the world’s most prestigious designers, some of the biggest names in film, television and music appeared, including Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Diahann Carroll, LL Cool J, Paula Patton, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Williams, Judge Greg Mathis, Taraji P. Henson, Samuel L. Jackson, Cicely Tyson and Hill Harper.
Riveting performances were given by Jennifer Hudson and Ne-Yo, Lenny Kravitz, Jill Scott and Kirk Franklin. In addition, there was a moving tribute to Whitney Houston performed by Yolanda Adams, who sang “I Love the Lord.”
Giving recognition to the $90 million of his own money that he invested to bring “Red Tails” to the silver screen, George Lucas received the NAACP Vanguard Award. Radio One/TV One Founder Cathy Hughes received the NAACP Chairman’s Award and the Founding Members of the Black Stuntmen’s Association received the NAACP President’s Award.
One of the event sponsors was Cadillac, which also sponsored several events throughout the weekend. GM executives Vivian Pickard, president of the GM Foundation and director of corporate relations; Eric Peterson, vice president of corporate diversity; Linda Ware, manager of supplier diversity; and Jocelyn K. Allen, director, regional, grassroots and diversity, hosted a Thursday evening dinner attended by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and members of the media at the Gordon Ramsay restaurant in the London West Hollywood Hotel.
From there, Cadillacs, including Escalades and CTS, drove guests to the preawards gala at the CAA Building and to the BET soiree at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills, which was hosted by BET CEO Debra Lee.
The following morning, Pickard, Peterson and Ware participated in a brunch/ panel discussion attended by Roland Martin, Alonso and various members of the media. Pickard explained that in 1993, when the NAACP thought they could no longer afford to produce the Image Awards, GM stepped in and gave the organization needed financial help. GM has been a supporting sponsor ever since.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring special opportunities in the public and private sectors.