black people achieving greatness: the 2022 naacp image awards


photo: robin edqvist on unsplash

NAACP Image Awards was created to all to witness the essence of Black excellence. 


“This is the State of the Union of the Black house right now,” said host Anthony Anderson. 


In 1967, these awards were established to take time to appreciate all stunning Black actors, actresses, writers, producers and directors, as well as to acknowledge those who work in Hollywood supporting the artists. 


The awards look slightly different than we are used to seeing. While Anderson was in a staged award area, some presenters announced nominees in areas like Harlem and Carson, and places across the country that have cultural significance to the Black community such as the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, New York’s National Jazz Museum in Harlem and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. Although most nominees sat remotely at home receiving their awards.


Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series: Sterling K. Brown in “This is Us.” Brown is a two-time Emmy winning actor and is in NBC’s Emmy and Golden Globe nominated series “This is Us.” He changed history by being the first African American actor to win a Golden Globe award in the category “Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama Series” in the award show’s 75-year history. 


Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series: Angela Bassett in “9-1-1.” Bassett went to Yale University and earned a B.A. in Afro-American Studies and an M.F.A. in drama. She is best known for her appearances in “Boyz ‘N the Hood,” “ The Jacksons: An American Dream” and “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” She earned her first Emmy nomination in the early 1990s for her role in “The Rosa Parks Story.” 


Chairman’s Award: Samuel L. Jackson. The actor has been in over 150 films and has received 45 awards. Not only is he an outstanding actor, but also a devoted activist raising awareness for the issues that affect the Black community. His activism dates back to 1969, when he was expelled from Morehouse College for leading a legendary protest and locking board members in a building for two days because he did not agree with the school’s curriculum.


Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series: Issa Rae in “Insecure.” Rae gained attention for her award-winning web series and The New York Times best-seller “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.”  She also created and stars in the hit show “Insecure” which has received numerous Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Rae has also made film appearances in “The Hate U Give,” “The Lovebirds,” “Little” and “The Photograph.” 


Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series: Anthony Anderson in “black-ish.” Anderson is an Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor who both stars in and produces the series “black-ish.” He has had five nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, two Golden Globe awards and three Critics’ Choice nominations. He has also hosted the NAACP Image Awards for the past six years. 


Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture: Daniel Kaluuya in “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Kaluuya surfaced in the U.S. as the lead in the film “Get Out,” later playing roles in “Black Panther,” “Windows,” Queen & Slim” and “Judas and the Black Messiah.” In 2021, he received a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Critics Choice award for Best Support Actor and SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.


Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture: Jennifer Hudson in “Respect.” Hudson made her debut when she earned a spot on American Idol. She also starred in the film “Dreamgirls,” for which she won a Grammy, Golden Globe and an Oscar. Recently she has starred in the film “Respect,” which portrays the life of Aretha Franklin. 


Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture: Will Smith in “King Richard.” Smith has a successful music and film career. He has won many awards and has been nominated for many awards such as the SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in “King Richard.” This happens to be the second year in a row that a Black actor has won this award in the category in the award show’s history. He’s won four Grammys and has been nominated for two Oscars. 


He recently starred in “King Richard,” which depicted the journey of sisters and talented tennis players Venus and Serena Williams. 


This award show was heavily packed with a special performance by Mary J. Blidge at the Apollo, as well as tributes to the Black iIcons who passed away. This included a recognition to Jackie Robinson, as this April will mark 75 years since his Major League debut. There are millions of Black people doing extraordinary work, breaking rules that exclude Black people from becoming the first to achieve something. The NAACP Image Awards are impactful because it’s one place where Black people can be unapologetically Black and receive proper recognition for all of their hard work.


Other recipients of NAACP Image Awards 

Deon Cole, Natasha Rothwell, Jazmine Sullivan, Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Kevin Hart, Danny Boyd Jr. and Regina King. 

Outstanding Motion Picture: “The Harder They Fall” 

Entertainer of the year: Jennifer Hudson

Outstanding TV Comedy Series: “Insecure”

NAACP President’s Award: Duke and Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Social Justice Impact Award: Nikole Hannah-Jones 

Vanguard Award for Costume Design: Ruth E. Carter

Youth Activist Award: Howard University NAACP Chapter President Channing Hill 

Activist of the Year: Scot X. Esdaile Member of the NAACP National Board of Directors

 Change Maker Award: Debra Langford



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