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They lighted up the awards (L to R) Harry Belafonte, Cicely Tyson, Lawrence Fishburne, Sidney Poitier, Robert Townsend
The 43rd Annual NAACP Image Awards held at the historic Shrine Auditorium this past weekend gave industry pioneers in the fields of music, writing/directing, television, literature, and film an opportunity to unite and celebrate the remarkable achievements of people of color.
The red carpet was filled with sentiments of joyous moments and melancholy expressions as many stars reflected on their most significant moments with some of our recently fallen icons.
Actress Anika Noni Rose caught up with the Sentinel and Watts Times shared that she is very grateful to participate to just have a "great time." She loves being "able to celebrate culture" and meet people that she has "admired for so long."
"Art inspires me," Rose shared. "Listening to Viola Davis speak to Oprah last night and the things that she talked about and she has faced. It's not about being liked, it's about telling the truth. It's about being honest and being true to yourself and your art and I love that."
Kirk Franklin took home the award for Outstanding Gospel Album with, "Hello Fear" and also the award for Outstanding Song for "I Smile." Franklin caught up with us on the red carpet and shared his thoughts.
"I don't do the music just because I have nothing else to do," Franklin shared. "This is something I believe in. I am an out loud Christian. You know this is what I do. I'm super far from perfect, flawed up, jacked up but in my heart, I love the Lord 100 (%) and hopefully that's what you're seeing."
Hosts Sanaa Latham and Anthony Mackie presented the night's stars, recognizing not only their talent, but also the seeds of wisdom, education, and prosperity that they have planted in our society.
Performances of the night included Jill Scott, who won the Outstanding Female Artist Award, and Yolanda Adams, who gave a touching tribute to the late Whitney Houston. Winners in recording also included Jennifer Hudson who won for Outstanding Music Video and "Sounds of Blackness" who won for Outstanding World Music Album.
Shirley Strawberry with Lyah Le Flore won the Outstanding Literary Work-Debut Author Award for the "Strawberry Letter," which provides captivating lessons on living a better life.
The night's most inspirational nods featured Cathy Hughes, who received the NAACP Chairman's Award for her outstanding contributions in public service as the Founder of Radio One/TV One. The Black Stuntmen's Association received the President's Award, honored for bringing to light the countless contributions of the African American stuntmen while securing diverse opportunities for both men and women in the aerial field. George Lucas was the recipient of the Vanguard Award, an innovator who broke barriers in film when he implemented computer technology into filmmaking and executive produced "Red Tails" starring an all Black cast.
Ben Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP, expressed the importance of the night's events, sighting Whitney Houston's "courage and conviction to stand up against the South African government" and the historic presence of Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier on the same stage, monumental figures in film who provided an avenue for blacks on and off the screen. Jealous also spoke of George Lucas who surmounted the odds to produce "Red Tails" in a dramatic depiction of the African American Stuntmen's journey during World War II.
The 43rd Annual NAACP Image Awards stood firmly as a testament to the creativity and richness of Black History. The series "Unsung" won for Outstanding News/Information Series or Special for showcasing the history of pioneers in Black music and being able to provide new generations with insight into the multi-faceted genres of the past, which often present themselves in today's music.
The night ended with Kirk Franklin who brought down the house leaving all who attended and watched the show inspired and ready to take on the world. This years' 43rd Annual NAACP Image Awards definitely taught us to celebrate and cherish our legacy and contributions to the world.
For a complete listing of the winners for the 43rd Annual NAACP Award please vising www.lasentinel.net