NAACP Image Awards

The NAACP Image Awards is an annual awards ceremony presented by the U.S.-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to honor outstanding performances in film, television, theatre, music, and literature. Similar to other awards, like the Oscars and the Grammys, the over 40 categories of the Image Awards are voted on by the award organization's members (in this case, NAACP members). Honorary awards (similar to the Academy Honorary Award) have also been included, such as the President's Award, the Chairman's Award, the Entertainer of the Year, and the Hall of Fame Award.

NAACP Image Awards
Current: 54th NAACP Image Awards
Awarded forExcellence in film, television, theatre, music, and literature
CountryUnited States
Presented byNAACP
First awardedAugust 13, 1967 (1967-08-13)


The award ceremony was first organized and presented on August 13, 1967, by activists Maggie Hathaway, Sammy Davis Jr. and Willis Edwards, all three of whom were leaders of the Beverly Hills-Hollywood NAACP branch.[1][2] While it was first taped for television by NBC (which broadcast the awards from 1987 to 1994 in January, on weeks when Saturday Night Live wasn't airing a new episode), it would only be broadcast in primetime beginning in 1996. Due to changes in timing of the awards, there was no awards ceremony held the following years: 1973, as the timing was changed to honor a full calendar year early in the following year (reverted to a "late-in-year" ceremony for 1981–1990); 1991, as the timing returned to late in a calendar year to honor that same year; 1995, but note that the reasoning is not clear.

The first live broadcast of the awards, also on the Fox Network, occurred in 2007 for its 38th edition (up until 2007, the ceremony had been broadcast with tape delay) and the annual ceremonies usually take place in or around the Los Angeles area, in February or early March. The 44th edition aired on NBC. Sources have had trouble verifying the winners in the top categories from 1983 to 1995.

The New York firm Society Awards manufactures the trophy since its redesign in 2008.

Event dates and locations

# Date Host(s) Location
1st August 13, 1967[2] The Beverly Hilton
2nd September 22, 1968[3] The Beverly Hilton
3rd October 11, 1969[4]
4th November 15, 1970[5]
5th November 21, 1971[6]
6th November 18, 1972[7]
1973 - not presented, timing changed to have achievements of a calendar year honored early in following year
7th January 19, 1974 Hollywood Palladium
8th January 18, 1975
9th February 7, 1976
10th April 24, 1977
11th June 9, 1978
12th January 27, 1979 Hollywood Palladium
13th January 27, 1980[8] Louis Gossett Jr./Rita Moreno/Ted Lange/Benjamin Hooks/Valenti
14th December 5, 1981 Robert Guillaume
(note: timing changed, achievements of 1980/81 were honored late in 1981)
Hollywood Palladium
15th December 1982 Jayne Kennedy/George Peppard/Michael Warren
16th December 4, 1983 Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
17th December 1984
18th December 1985
19th December 13, 1986 Debbie Allen/Denzel Washington
20th December 1987 Denzel Washington/Debbie Allen
21st December 1988
22nd December 9, 1989
23rd December 9, 1990
1991 - not presented, timing changed to have achievements of a calendar year honored early in following year
24th January 11, 1992 Pasadena Civic Auditorium
25th January 16, 1993
26th January 5, 1994
1995 - not presented, financial concerns[9]
27th April 6, 1996 Whitney Houston/Denzel Washington Pasadena Civic Auditorium
28th February 8, 1997 Arsenio Hall, Patti LaBelle
29th February 14, 1998 Vanessa L. Williams, Gregory Hines
30th February 14, 1999 Mariah Carey, Blair Underwood[10]
31st February 12, 2000 Diana Ross
32nd February 23, 2001 Chris Tucker Universal Amphitheatre
33rd March 3, 2002
34th March 8, 2003 Cedric the Entertainer
35th March 6, 2004 Tracee Ellis Ross/Golden Brooks/Persia White/Jill Marie Jones
36th March 19, 2005 Chris Tucker Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
37th February 26, 2006 Cuba Gooding Jr. Shrine Auditorium
38th March 2, 2007 LL Cool J
39th February 14, 2008 D. L. Hughley
40th February 12, 2009[11] Halle Berry/Tyler Perry
41st February 26, 2010 Anika Noni Rose/Hill Harper
42nd March 4, 2011[12] Wayne Brady/Holly Robinson Peete
43rd February 17, 2012 Sanaa Lathan/Anthony Mackie
44th February 1, 2013 Steve Harvey
45th February 22, 2014 Anthony Anderson[13] Pasadena Civic Auditorium
46th February 6, 2015
47th February 5, 2016
48th February 11, 2017
49th January 15, 2018
50th March 30, 2019 Dolby Theatre
51st February 22, 2020 Pasadena Civic Auditorium
52nd March 27, 2021 Virtual
53rd February 26, 2022[14] Pasadena Civic Auditorium


In 1987, the NAACP came under fire for dropping their Best Actress award for that year. They defended this position, citing a lack of meaningful roles for black women.[15] In 1990, they were criticized once again for not awarding Best Actress.[16] This was the fourth time it could not find enough nominees for Best Actress.[16] Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the organization's Beverly Hills/Hollywood branch, said, "The [film] industry has yet to show diversity or present realistic leading roles for African-American women."[16]

In other years, some nominees have been called undeserving of NAACP attention. In response, some NAACP representatives have argued that the quality of an artist's work is the salient issue, with factors such as criminal charges inconsequential in this regard. For example, in 1994, Tupac Shakur was a nominee for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for the film Poetic Justice despite the filing of sexual assault charges against him in December 1993.[17] More specifically, Shakur had been accused of felony counts of forcible sodomy and unlawful detainment in New York City, when a woman alleged that he and two other men held her down in a hotel room while a fourth man sodomized her.[18] Shakur was also indicted for two counts of aggravated assault in an unrelated incident in which he supposedly shot and wounded two off-duty police officers.[18] In the same year, Martin Lawrence was criticized for winning Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Comedy Series and the show was criticized for its sexual controversy.[18] In 2004, R. Kelly's Chocolate Factory was nominated for Outstanding Album[19] while he was under indictment for charges related to child pornography.[20]

Other nominees have faced controversy due to their portrayals of major civil rights figures. In 2003, the movie Barbershop received five nominations, including Outstanding Motion Picture and Outstanding Supporting Actor (for Cedric the Entertainer's performance). In the film, Cedric's character makes pejorative remarks about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Michael Jackson, and Jesse Jackson, content that elicited criticism, including Rosa Parks's refusal to attend the awards event.[21] The rap group OutKast received six nominations in 2004 but faced criticism because they had previously recorded the song "Rosa Parks", which had resulted in Parks suing them over the use of her name.[20]

Award categories

These are the major categories:


  1. "The Show | Image Awards History". January 12, 2020. Archived from the original on January 12, 2020.
  2. "NAACP Will Present Nine Image Awards". Los Angeles Times. August 7, 1967. p. 74 via
  3. "NAACP to Confer Honors at Beverly Hilton Fete". Valley Times (of North Hollywood). San Fernando Valley Times Co. August 6, 1968. p. 7 via
  4. Knapp, Dan (September 27, 1969). "Getting Blacker, But Not Black Enough". Vancouver Sun via
  5. "NAACP Sets Annual Image Awards Show". Los Angeles Times. September 8, 1970 via
  6. "Marvin Gaye Wins Top Honors at NAACP Image Awards Show". Pittsburgh Courier. December 4, 1971 via
  7. "NAACP Honors Black Performers". The Palm Beach Post. November 20, 1972 via
  8. Robinson, Leroy (May 1980). Marr, Warren II (ed.). "'Together They Did It!' The 12th Annual NAACP Image Awards". The Crisis. Vol. 85, no. 5. pp. 162–164. ISSN 0011-1422. OCLC 609962350 via Google Books.
  9. "NAACP board may decide fate of costly Image Awards at meeting this week". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  10. Lewis, Ida E., ed. (March 1999). "NAACP Image Awards Glitters For 30 Years". The Crisis. Vol. 106, no. 2. pp. 35–37. ISSN 0011-1422. OCLC 609962350. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  11. "Halle Berry and Tyler Perry to Host Live Broadcast of "40th Naacp Image Awards" Thursday, February 12, on Fox" (Press release). Fox Broadcasting Company. December 16, 2008. Retrieved May 4, 2022 via The Futon Critic.
  12. "42nd NAACP Image Awards | Winners & Honorees | Television". March 4, 2011. Archived from the original on June 25, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
  13. "The 45th NAACP Image Awards Announces Additional Presenters Including Idris Elba, Vin Diesel, Terry Crews & More". TV By The Numbers. February 13, 2014. Archived from the original on June 30, 2017. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  14. "NAACP Announces '53rd NAACP Image Awards' To Be Held In Person" (Press release). BET. November 18, 2021.
  15. "NAACP cites lack of Best Actress in a Motion Picture Award due to lack of meaningful roles". October 29, 1987. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  16. "Why NAACP lacks image award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture". LA Times. October 25, 1990. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  17. "Michael Jackson makes surprise appearance at NAACP Image Awards". Jet. January 24, 1994. Retrieved September 29, 2006.
  18. Leonardi, Marisa (January 7, 1994). "Shakur Questionably nominated". LA Times. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  19. Wiederhorn, Jon (January 8, 2004). "Outkast, Beyoncé, R. Kelly Nominated For NAACP Image Awards". Retrieved September 29, 2006.
  20. "Paula Zahn Now: Can Democrats Challenge Kerry?; NAACP Controversy; California Death Penalty Debate". January 28, 2004. Retrieved September 29, 2006.
  21. "Image Awards rekindle 'Barbershop' controversy". March 9, 2003. Archived from the original on June 29, 2006. Retrieved September 29, 2006.
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