The 40th annual NAACP Image Awards not only celebrated the historical presidency of Barack Obama, the multicultural show also marked the 100th anniversary of the influential civil rights organization. In addition to tapping Tyler Perry and Halle Berry as the show’s hosts, producers culled the best of the best of entertainment’s top talent to honor the achievements and performances of people of color in TV, film, music and literature. Grammy Award-winning pop icon, Beyoncé opened the show in a flowing white gown that recalled vintage Hollywood glamour.
The celebrated singer-actress performed her new song, ‘Halo’ with archival footage from the Civil Rights movement as the backdrop.
It was quite obvious that the set had an emotional effect on Knowles. Her eyes seemed watery — as if she was ready to cry. Beyoncé’s breathtaking performance proved exactly why she earned this year’s Outstanding Female Artist award. The Golden Globe-nominated actress wasn’t the only ‘Dreamgirl’ gracing the stage and walking away with gold; Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, who has had an event-filled week performing and winning her first Grammy, also lit up the Shrine Auditorium with her presence.
“This is where we come from,” Hudson said, accepting the trophy for outstanding new artist. “So it’s always an honor to come home and feel welcome and to feel the love. I really cherish this and appreciate it.”
Shortly after receiving the award, the J Records vocalist made her mark at the centennial celebration with her stunning tribute to boxing legend Muhammad Ali by singing ‘The Impossible Dream.’
Other notable performances included will.i.am (‘Redemption’), Seal (‘People Get Ready’), and Stevie Wonder’s still timely ‘Black Man.’
Below is a list of some of the major awards that were given out during the course of the telecast:
*Outstanding Actor in Drama or Series: Hill Harper (‘CSI: NY’)
*Outstanding New Artist: Jennifer Hudson
*Outstanding Actress In Comedy Series: Tracee Ellis Ross (‘Girlfriends’)
*Outstanding Female Artist: Beyoncé
*Chairman’s Award: Al Gore; Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai
*Outstanding Comedy Series: ‘Tyler Perry’s House of Pain’
*Outstanding Role in TV Movie, Mini-Series: Sean Combs (‘Raisin in the Sun’)
*Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Taraji P. Henson (‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’)
*Vanguard Award Recipient: Russell Simmons
*President’s Award: Muhammad Ali
*Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture: Will Smith (‘Seven Pounds’)
*Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture: Rosario Dawson (‘Seven Pounds’)
*Outstanding Motion Picture: The Secret Live of Bees
Several winners were awarded before the live ceremony, including Chandra Wilson of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ for actress in a drama series, Columbus Short of “Cadillac Records” for outstanding supporting actor in a motion picture and singer-actor Jamie Foxx for outstanding male artist.