Jennifer Hudson was named Entertainer of the Year at the 53rd NAACP Image Awards, also taking home a best acting award for her role as the Queen of Soul in the Aretha Franklin biopic, “Respect.”
The awards celebrate “outstanding achievements and performances of people of color” in categories including film, television, music, literature and podcasts.
The bulk of the awards in the television, music and other categories were handed out during a series of pre-telecast virtual ceremonies over the past five days. The top film honors were presented Feb. 26 during a two-hour televised special hosted by Anthony Anderson at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. There was no formal live ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hudson was among the five nominees for entertainer of the year, along with Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Nas X, Regina King and Tiffany Haddish.
During the ceremony, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, received a President’s Award in recognition of their dedication to public service. The Duke and Duchess joined with the NAACP to present the inaugural NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award to Safiya Noble, a professor of gender studies and African-American studies at UCLA. The award recognizes “leaders creating transformational change–at the intersection of social justice and technology–to advance civil and human rights.”
Samuel L. Jackson received a Chairman’s Award in recognition of his public service and advocacy for social change. Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project, received the Social Justice Impact Award.
Fresh off her recent performance during the Super Bowl LVI halftime show, Mary J. Blige performed during the Image Awards telecast, which aired on BET, tape delayed at 8 p.m. on the West Coast. Among those serving as presenters during the telecast were Issa Rae, Kerry Washington, LL Cool J, Michael Strahan, Morgan Freeman, Paula Patton, Questlove, Simu Liu, Tiffany Haddish and Zendaya.