NAACP Image Awards

The NAACP Image Award 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, 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 Award
50th NAACP Image Awards
Awarded forExcellence in film, television, music, and literature
CountryUnited States
Presented byNAACP
First awarded1969


The award ceremony was first presented in 1968 and was first nationally televised in 1994 on the Fox Network. There was no awards ceremony in 1973 or 1995. The first live broadcast of the event, 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, United States area, in February or early March. The 44th edition aired on NBC. Sources have had trouble verifying the winners in the top categories from 1983-1995.

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

Event dates and locations

# Date Host(s) Location
1st 1970 The Beverly Hilton
2nd November, 1971
3rd 1972
4th November, 1973
5th January 19, 1973 Hollywood Palladium
6th January, 1975
7th 1976
8th April, 1977
9th June, 1978
11th January 27, 1979 Hollywood Palladium
12th[1] January 27, 1980 Louis Gossett Jr./Rita Moreno/Ted Lange/Benjamin Hooks/Valenti
13th December 5, 1981 Robert Guillaume Hollywood Palladium
14th December, 1982 Jayne Kennedy/George Peppard/Michael Warren
15th December 4, 1983 Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
16th December, 1984
17th December, 1985
18th December 13, 1986 Debbie Allen/Denzel Washington
19th December, 1987
20th December, 1988
21st December 9, 1989
22nd 1990
23rd January 11, 1991
24th January 16, 1992 Pasadena Civic Auditorium
25th January 5, 1993
26th January 5, 1994
27th April, 1996 Whitney Houston/Denzel Washington
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[2] Pasadena Civic Auditorium
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 Halle Berry/Tyler Perry
41st February 26, 2010 Anika Noni Rose/Hill Harper
42nd March 4, 2011 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[3] 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


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.[4] In 1990, they were criticized once again for not awarding Best Actress.[5] This was the fourth time it could not find enough nominees for Best Actress.[5] 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."[5]

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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[7] 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.[7] In 2004, R. Kelly's Chocolate Factory was nominated for Outstanding Album[8] while he was under indictment for charges related to child pornography.[9]

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.[10] 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.[9]

Award categories

These are the major categories:


  1. "Together They Did It!" The 12th Annual NAACP Image Awards
  2. "The Crisis". The Crisis Publishing Company, Inc. 1 April 1999. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  3. "The 45th NAACP Image Awards Announces Additional Presenters Including Idris Elba, Vin Diesel, Terry Crews & More". TV By The Numbers. 2014-02-13. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
  4. "NAACP cites lack of Best Actress in a Motion Picture Award due to lack of meaningful roles". October 29, 1987. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  5. "Why NAACP lacks image award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture". LA Times. October 25, 1990. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  6. "Michael Jackson makes surprise appearance at NAACP Image Awards". Jet. 1994-01-24. Retrieved 2006-09-29.
  7. Leonardi, Marisa (January 7, 1994). "Shakur Questionably nominated". LA Times. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  8. Wiederhorn, Jon (2004-01-08). "Outkast, Beyoncé, R. Kelly Nominated For NAACP Image Awards". Retrieved 2006-09-29.
  9. "Paula Zahn Now: Can Democrats Challenge Kerry?; NAACP Controversy; California Death Penalty Debate". 2004-01-28. Retrieved 2006-09-29.
  10. "Image Awards rekindle 'Barbershop' controversy". 2003-03-09. Archived from the original on 2006-06-29. Retrieved 2006-09-29.
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