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Highlights of the 53rd NAACP Image Awards 

With its 112-year history, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), now boasting a 2 million membership, strives to ensure that Black voices are heard the world over and Black achievements are in the spotlight. Its Image Awards are held yearly to commemorate Black talent in television, film, literature, and music. 

This year, for the ninth consecutive time, Anthony Anderson, star and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated show black-ish, served as the host for the awards, while his mother Doris Bowman reappeared throughout the event for comedic interactions. Later on, Anderson bagged the award for Outstanding Actor In A Comedy Series while the Outstanding Comedy Series award went to Issa Rae’s Insecure for the second year in a row. Anderson quipped in his speech, “I’d like to thank my mama for sleeping with my daddy and making me.” Meanwhile his mother responded, “Finally, they got it right.” Anderson begged to differ, pointing out to her that he has won on this show frequently.

Jennifer Hudson garnered Entertainer of the Year and Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for her portrayal of Aretha Franklin in the movie Respect. The Netflix film The Harder They Fall bagged the award for Outstanding Motion Picture. Singer-songwriter Jazmine Sullivan won the awards for the Outstanding Album for Heaux Tales.

One of the most-coveted performances was by the hip-hop legend Mary J. Blige, who sang a medley including her latest chart-topper, “Good Morning Gorgeous”, looking impeccable in a royal purple Tony Ward couture gown. She also won Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Power Book II: Ghost. Some other fan-favourite performers were Kerry Washington, LL Cool J, Michael Strahan, Morgan Freeman, Paula Patton, Questlove, Simu Liu, and Zendaya. 

Mary J. Blige – Good Morning Gorgeous & Love No Limit [53rd NAACP Image Awards]

Samuel L. Jackson won the NAACP Chairman’s Award for his social activism, whereas the Social Justice Impact Award was presented by Kerry Washington to the American investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones for “using the brilliance of her mind and power of her pen.” Nikole Hannah-Jones’ new book, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, is based on her Pulitzer Prize-winning essay, originally published in The New York Times’ long form journalism project, The 1619 Project. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, received the President’s Award, which was presented by the president of the NAACP Derrick Johnson for their contribution in co-partnering their Archewell Foundation with the NAACP to launch a new NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award. The first-time winner was Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble, who was recognized for her work on unveiling how search engine algorithms promote racism.

Fashion-wise, Meghan Markle held a banner to elegance in a blue-hued, single-shoulder dress by the New-York based designer Christopher John Rogers. Zendaya’s appearance in a sparkly mini dress by Valentino Couture was another notable style moment of the night. West Side Story star Ariana DeBose looked very much a picture-perfect installation from the Victorian era in an all-black number by Alexander McQueen with silver detailing on the jacket and boots. Jennifer Hudson also chose a black gown (in velvet) by Christian Siriano. Kerry Washington dazzled in a classy Zuhair Murad light pink number with De Beers diamonds, whereas Issa Rae opted for a bold look in a vibrant pink mini dress by Monsoori. 

prince harry and meghan markle at naacp awards

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivering their award acceptance speech for the President’s Award, photographed by Earl Gibson for NAACP.

Zendaya in Valentino, styled by Law Roach.

Ariana DeBose in Alexander McQueen.


Jennifer Hudson, The Queen of the Night, in Christian Siriano, posing with her awards.

Kerry Washington in Zuhair Murad and DeBeers.

Last hurrah! Issa Rae, 37, accepted the Outstanding Actress In A Comedy Series for the final season of Insecure at the NAACP Image Awards on Saturday

Issa Rae posing with Anthony Anderson, holding her award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series. 

Some of the notable menswear style moments of the night were made by Jason McGee in a tuxedo by J.Crew and Christian Louboutin shoes, Terrell Grice in Grayscale Image Consulting’s houndstooth Pythagorean suit, and La’Ron Hines in Lee Rickie Collection.

Jason McGee in J.Crew and Christian Louboutin.

La’Ron Hines in Lee Rickie Collection.

Photographed by Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images.

Terrell Grice in Grayscale Image Consulting.

Photographed by Tha Creator ETC LLC.

Arslan Ahmed | Assistant Editor

Spring 2024

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