NAACP Image Awards celebrate diversity in Hollywood

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith arrive at the 47th NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena, Calif.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith arrive at the 47th NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena, Calif.


It was a total knockout for Michael B. Jordan at the NAACP Image Awards in a ceremony that took several jabs at Hollywood for the lack of racial diversity.

The star of the boxing drama “Creed” was honored Friday as both the entertainer of the year and outstanding actor in a motion picture for his role as Apollo Creed’s son.

“I used to sneak into the Image Awards, and now I’m standing here as the entertainer of the year, which is mind-blowing,” he said.

“Straight Outta Compton,” which tells the story of the pioneering rap group N.W.A., picked up the outstanding motion picture prize.

“I want to thank the NAACP for this because without you riding for us for the last 100 years, we would not be standing here,” director F. Gary Gray said.

Image Awards host Anthony Anderson kicked off the ceremony by invoking N.W.A. for a rap about the lack of racial diversity at other awards shows.

The “black-ish” star donned a gold chain and a baseball cap with the words “Nominees With Attitude” to sing about such snubs as “Beasts of No Nation” and Jordan at the Academy Awards.

“Listen, y’all, I don’t mean to sound cocky, but the movie’s called ‘Creed,’ not ‘Rocky,’ ” he rapped.

Anderson later joked during his opening monologue that he didn’t want the Academy Awards to go overboard in response to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy by honoring a movie like “Madea Goes Trick or Treating in Compton” as best picture or handing out Kevin Harts instead of Oscars.

“Hollywood needs to know that this is what diversity is supposed to look like,” a more serious Anderson told the crowd at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee were among this year’s Image Awards attendees who said they won’t attend this year’s Oscar ceremony after a second year of mostly white nominees.

Despite several comments — both mocking and thoughtful — about the lack of racial diversity in Hollywood, it was mostly show business as usual for the 47th Image Awards, which are presented by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to honor people of color in entertainment.

“black-ish” swept the TV comedy categories with Anderson winning the award for outstanding actor, while the show was selected as outstanding comedy series and his co-star Tracee Ellis Ross was honored as outstanding actress.


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