The 49th NAACP Image Awards was a night to celebrate all of the amazing work people of color have done in 2017, but there were also moments to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
If you missed the show, check out rundown of the night’s best moments.
2017 According to Anthony Anderson
There was a lot of ground to cover when recapping 2017–especially in the last few months! But no one could tackle the task quite like Anthony Anderson.
He opened the show calling the event the “Oprah for President Headquarters” (not inaccurate). However, he did have some doubts about the media mogul actually making a run for office.
“I don’t think Oprah would run for president. I mean why would she move to a smaller house?” He mused.
While he was on the subject of the White House, he did acknowledge the only Black woman to walk its halls under the new administration: Omarosa. Although he’s not particularly interested in her upcoming tell-all about the Trump Administration.
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“Hasn’t that book and movie already been made? It’s called the Help,” he said. Rep. Maxine Waters really seemed to enjoy that burn.
“Although Omarosa did do one thing I never thought possible. She got Black people and White people to finally come together on something,” he continued. “Even Taylor Swift and Kanye West agree that they hate Omarosa.”
He also tossed out some ideas for how to improve Confederate statues if local governments weren’t going to take them down.
Anthony also took a moment to touch on Tyrese’s social media meltdown. The Black-ish star actually sympathizes with Tyrese as a father, but he had to admit that Ty’s tantrums were hilarious to watch.
Women Take Center Stage
Although the NAACP is meant to celebrate the excellence of all people of color (no matter what gender), Black women were really front and center at 49th NAACP Image Awards.
With many of the presenters, male and female, giving honor to the power and importance of Black women, it was truly a night of appreciation. That started as soon as Kerry Washington, Laverne Cox, Lena Waithe, Journee Smollet, Angela Robinson, and Tracee Ellis Ross emerged on stage, striding hand-in-hand.
These women stood together demanding respect for Black women as they pointed out what a difference we make in movements that improve everyone’s lives. But along with an expectation of respect came a call for support from the community we fight for. But we were also reminded that we need to continue the work we’ve been doing. Part of that work will take us to the polls in November for mid-term elections.
Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This year marks the first time that the NAACP Image Awards has fallen on MLK Day, and he was honored throughout the night from the moment Anthony stepped out onto the stage to the final credits.
Black-ish Wins Big Again
Black-ish absolutely swept the Comedy Series category! Anthony took home the award for Outstanding Actor, Tracee won the award for Outstanding Actress, and the show won Outstanding series.
Anthony had to switch quickly into winner mode from his hosting duties, and he made it a point to thank all of the women his life.
Gracious as ever, Tracee, who immediately shouted out all of her fellow nominees and took a moment to breathe during her acceptance speech. It was a bit unusual, a bit unorthodox, and completely apropos for the climate we are all living in.
Thank You, Uncle Charlie
Halle Berry presented the inaugural Music Makes A Difference Award for all of his work to help the homeless.
“I have made it my mission to raise awareness, working to show them there’s a way out,” he explained to the crowd. “Everyone needs help at some time in their life, and I’m dedicated to using my platform that God gave me to speak for those whose voice is never heard.”
Sharing a promise that he made to God, Uncle Charlie lead everyone in a chorus of “I’m blessed.”
A Message In The Melody
Andra Day delivered a powerful performance of Strange Fruit that will stay with us for a while.
Danny Glover Lands The President’s Award
Danny Glover has had a long history of hit roles, but his stardom has also afforded him the opportunity to help others. He was honored tonight for his activism, pushing for equality and dignity for all throughout his life.
But even as he accepted his award, he refocused the spotlight on labor issues within the Nissan automotive company. Moreover, he spoke on the need for honoring and protecting the needs of people of African descent, which is of particular importance given Donald Trump’s recent comments about African nations.
‘Power’ Wins Outstanding Drama Series & Is Totally Confused
We don’t know what was going on with the production for the Outstanding Drama Series category, but everyone on stage was a little scattered.
Daniel Kaluuya Wins For Get Out
Daniel Kaluuya was utterly shocked that he won Outstanding Actor Drama Motion Picture, and he was going to enjoy this moment! It took him a while to get his thoughts together, but once he did he gave one of the most entertaining speeches of the night.
“I don’t think you’re allowed to beat Denzel Washington in an acting competition. That’s not a joke,” he said. Shortly after producers started playing the Wrap It Up music, and he ignored it so that he could thank everyone that helped secure the prize.
Girls Trip Wins Outstanding Motion Picture
None of the cast made it to the awards ceremony tonight, so they couldn’t accept the award. But producer Will Packer made sure that they and all Black women were well-represented and honored in his acceptance speech.
“We stand up here as brothers for our sisters. This is for you!” he said, specifically naming the stars before showing love to Black women everywhere because Girls Trip could not have dominated the box office without us. “[For] all the melanin-infused sisters–especially the ones in Haiti and Africa–We love you as your brothers. We need you. You support us. Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!”
Ava DuVernay Wins Entertainer of the Year
As a director, Ava is usually behind the scenes–but tonight she came out into the spot to accept a hard-earned and richly deserved award. For a night that focused so much on women and our accomplishment, this was a real full-circle moment.
But, as a director does, she shifted the focus off of herself–excitedly shouting out all of the Black creators in TV and Film. Ava just about delivered a full run-down of Black shows and movies for audiences to devour–including Marvel’s Black Panther. And she took a moment to tell everyone about her film, A Wrinkle In Time.
“A little Black girl with glasses saves the universe from the darkness that seems to be all around us,” Ava shared. “It’s a love letter that I’ve made for family and community and the best in ourselves.”
She shouted in conclusion, “This is our time! We can say we were here when all of this gorgeous art was happening, and that we supported it. That we lifted each other up. That we did as Dr. King said he would do. Live the dream!”
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