NAACP Award (231773)
Credit: Contributed

Not only is it one of, if not THE most acclaimed award shows of the year, it’s also generally the first major award show of the calendar year. It of course being the NAACP Image Awards. Well we have some good news and some bad news (possibly.) First and most importantly, the show will go on. The 53rd annual NAACP Image Awards, honoring outstanding representations and achievements from people of color in the arts from 2021, will be broadcast live on BET, Saturday, Feb. 26. Scott Mills, CEO and BET president, says, “The BET team is immensely proud to continue our partnership with the NAACP and the annual Image Awards, underpinning our longstanding legacy of celebrating Black Excellence. It is an extraordinary privilege to provide our unparalleled platforms to recognize the vast contributions of Black creators, in a way that only BET, and NAACP can.”

Despite the challenges of the past few years, there are more than 80 competitive categories spanning film, television, streaming, music, literature and the newly minted podcast categories of Outstanding News and Information Podcast, Outstanding Lifestyle/Self-Help Podcast, Outstanding Society and Culture Podcast, and Outstanding Arts and Entertainment Podcast.

“We are thrilled to recognize this year’s nominees, who have all brought dynamic, entertaining, and thought-provoking content to our attention through their incredible work in film, television, music and more,” says Image Awards Committee chairperson Karen Boykin-Towns.

We the public can have a hand in the outcome of the winners by voting at Voting closes on Saturday, Feb. 5.

Here’s a listing of some of the awards up for grabs:

Entertainer of the Year Nominees
Jennifer Hudson
Lil Nas X
Megan Thee Stallion
Regina King
Tiffany Haddish

Outstanding Motion Picture
Judas and the Black Messiah
King Richard
The Harder They Fall
The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth
Jonathan Majors – The Harder They Fall
LaKeith Stanfield – Judas and the Black Messiah
Mahershala Ali – Swan Song
Will Smith – King Richard

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Andra Day – The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Halle Berry – Bruised
Jennifer Hudson – Respect
Tessa Thompson – Passing
Zendaya – Malcolm & Marie

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Algee Smith – Judas and the Black Messiah
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
Delroy Lindo – The Harder They Fall
Idris Elba – The Harder They Fall
LaKeith Stanfield – The Harder They Fall

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard
Audra McDonald – Respect
Danielle Deadwyler – The Harder They Fall
Dominique Fishback – Judas and the Black Messiah
Regina King – The Harder They Fall

Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture
Coming 2 America
Judas and the Black Messiah
King Richard
The Harder They Fall

Outstanding Documentary (Film)
Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power
My Name Is Pauli Murray
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Outstanding Documentary (Television)
1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything
American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free
Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali
High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America
Insecure Documentary

Outstanding Comedy Series
Run the World
The Upshaws

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson – black-ish
Cedric the Entertainer – The Neighborhood
Don Cheadle – Black Monday
Elisha ‘EJ’ Williams – The Wonder Years
Jay Ellis – Insecure

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series
Issa Rae – Insecure
Loretta Devine – Family Reunion
Regina Hall – Black Monday
Tracee Ellis Ross – black-ish
Yvonne Orji – Insecure

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher – Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Deon Cole – black-ish
Kenan Thompson – Saturday Night Live
Kendrick Sampson – Insecure
Laurence Fishburne – black-ish

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Amanda Seales – Insecure
Jenifer Lewis – black-ish
Marsai Martin – black-ish
Natasha Rothwell – Insecure
Wanda Sykes – The Upshaws

Outstanding Drama Series
All American
Godfather of Harlem
Queen Sugar

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Billy Porter – Pose
Damson Idris – Snowfall
Forest Whitaker – Godfather of Harlem
Kofi Siriboe – Queen Sugar
Sterling K. Brown – This is Us

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
Angela Bassett – 9-1-1
Dawn-Lyen Gardner – Queen Sugar
Octavia Spencer – Truth Be Told
Queen Latifah – The Equalizer
Rutina Wesley – Queen Sugar

Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special
Colin in Black & White
Genius: Aretha
Love Life
Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia
The Underground Railroad

Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special
Anthony Mackie – Solos
Jaden Michael – Colin in Black & White
Kevin Hart – True Story
Wesley Snipes – True Story
William Jackson Harper – Love Life

Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special
Betty Gabriel – Clickbait
Cynthia Erivo – Genius: Aretha
Danielle Brooks – Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia
Jodie Turner-Smith – Anne Boleyn
Taraji P. Henson – Annie Live!

Outstanding News/Information (Series or Special)
Blood on Black Wall Street: The Legacy of the Tulsa Massacre
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
Soul of A Nation
The Reidout

Outstanding Talk Series
Desus & Mero
Hart to Heart
Red Table Talk
Tamron Hall
The Real

Outstanding Variety Show (Series or Special)
A Black Lady Sketch Show
BET Awards 2021
Dave Chappelle: The Closer
Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 3
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Outstanding New Artist
Cynthia Erivo – Ch. 1 Vs. 1
Jimmie Allen – Bettie James Gold Edition
Saweetie – Best Friend feat. Doja Cat
Tems – If Orange Was A Place
Zoe Wees – Girls Like Us

Outstanding Male Artist
Anthony Hamilton – Love Is The New Black
Drake – Way 2 Sexy
Givēon – Heartbreak Anniversary
J. Cole – The Off-Season
Lil Nas X – Montero (Call Me By Your Name)

Outstanding Female Artist
H.E.R. – Back of My Mind
Ari Lennox – Pressure
Beyoncé – Be Alive
Chlöe – Have Mercy
Jazmine Sullivan – Heaux Tales

Outstanding Gospel/Christian Album
Anthems & Glory – Todd Dulaney
Believe For It – CeCe Winans
Jonny x Mali: Live in L.A. – Jonathan McReynolds and Mali Music
Overcomer – Tamela Mann
Power – Jason McGee & The Choir

Outstanding Album
An Evening with Silk Sonic – Silk Sonic
Back of My Mind – H.E.R.
Certified Lover Boy – Drake
Heaux Tales – Jazmine Sullivan
When It’s All Said and Done…Take Time – Givēon

Outstanding Gospel/Christian Song
Believe For It – CeCe Winans
Help Me – Tamela Mann feat. The Fellas
Hold Us Together (Hope Mix) – H.E.R. and Tauren Wells
Overcome 2021 – Kirk Franklin
Time for Reparations – Sounds of Blackness

Outstanding Soul/R&B Song
Damage – H.E.R.
Be Alive – Beyoncé
Have Mercy – Chlöe
Leave The Door Open – Silk Sonic
Pick Up Your Feelings – Jazmine Sullivan

Outstanding Hip Hop/Rap Song
Best Friend – Saweetie feat. Doja Cat
Fye Fye – Tobe Nwigwe feat. Fat Nwigwe
Industry Baby – Lil Nas X feat. Jack Harlow
My Life with 21 Savage and Morray – J. Cole
Way 2 Sexy – Drake

Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration (Traditional)
Anthony Hamilton feat. Jennifer Hudson – Superstar
Chlöe x Halle – Georgia On My Mind
Jazmine Sullivan feat. H.E.R. – Girl Like Me
Leela James feat. Anthony Hamilton – Complicated (Remix)
Silk Sonic – Leave the Door Open

Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction
Harlem Shuffle – Colson Whitehead
Libertie – Kaitlyn Greenidge
Long Division – Kiese Laymon
The Man Who Lived Underground – Richard Wright
The Perishing – Natashia Deón

Outstanding Literary Work – Nonfiction
Dance Theatre of Harlem – Judy Tyrus, Paul Novosel
Just As I Am – Cicely Tyson
My Remarkable Journey – Katherine Johnson
Renegades: Born in the USA – Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen
The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story – Nikole Hannah-Jones

Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/Autobiography
Just As I Am – Cicely Tyson
Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement – Tarana Burke
Unprotected: A Memoir – Billy Porter
Until I Am Free – Keisha Blain
Will – Will Smith

Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry
Perfect Black – Crystal Wilkinson
Playlist for the Apocalypse – Rita Dove
Such Color: New and Selected Poems – Tracy K. Smith
The Wild Fox of Yemen – Threa Almontaser
What Water Knows: Poems – Jacqueline Jones LaMon

Social Media Personality of the Year Nominees
@Euniquejg – Eunique Jones GIbson
@KevOnStage – Kevin Fredericks
@Laronhinesofficial – Laron Hines
@_Lyneezy – Lanae Vanee
@Terrellgrice – Terrell Grice

As for the not so good news, due to the ever-changing developments with this COVID monster, the night honoring Black excellence will continue to move forward without an in-person audience. Therefore the energy may be a little compromised. As a ripple effect covering media, including this publication, will have to wait with baited breath to see if we can work as we have over the years to give that onsite detail. No worries, we all have to sacrifice and we’ll be back!
Over and out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.

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