LOS ANGELES - On Friday, March 4, a diverse group of celebrities including Halle Berry, LL Cool J and Vanessa Williams will light up Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium for the 42nd NAACP Image Awards, the pre-eminent multicultural awards show. Talk show host, actress and author Holly Robinson Peete and actor and comedian Wayne Brady will host the show, which will feature performances by Mary Mary and Michael Franti & Spearhead.
This year, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and General Colin Powell will join the ranks of Aretha Franklin, Bono and Muhammad Ali as recipients of the Chairman and President’s awards. The ceremony will be broadcast live on FOX.
“This year more than ever we need to celebrate the achievements of people of color in the arts,” said NAACP Hollywood Bureau Executive Director Vicangelo Bulluck, who serves as executive producer of the awards telecast. “Inclusive and multicultural, the NAACP Image Awards AWARDS is truly a diverse American awards show. It showcases the hottest names in television, film and music, and you couldn’t ask for better hosts than Wayne and Holly to lead us in this celebration.”
NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock will present Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin with the 2011 Chairman’s Award. This award recognizes special achievement and distinguished service in the public sphere. Past honorees include Tyler Perry, Former Vice President Al Gore and Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai, Aretha Franklin, Bono, President Barack Obama, The Dave Matthews Band, Danny Glover, Aaron McGruder and Janet Jackson.
“Dr. Benjamin’s community-oriented values, as displayed in her commitment to making health care accessible for minorities and rural patients, embody the Association’s belief in equal health care rights for all citizens. As ‘America’s Doctor,’ Benjamin provides information on improving individual health and the health of our nation. By way of her phenomenal community service and dedication, her efforts epitomize significant strides for women, racial minorities and the poor.”
General Colin L. Powell will join Condoleeza Rice and the ranks of President Bill Clinton, Ella Fitzgerald, Van Jones, Muhammad Ali, Ryan White, Bryant Gumbel, Venus and Serena Williams, Tavis Smiley, and Tom Joyner when he is presented the prestigious President’s Award.
"General Colin Powell has led an extraordinary life of public service" stated Jealous. "As the first African American to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and later the first to serve as Secretary of State, General Powell holds a unique place in American history. He is a man of conscience and conviction, who uses his vast influence to promote education and self esteem to our country's youth. Although his position on the Iraq War was controversial, he was often the voice of reason in the prosecution of that war. He rose from humble roots as the son of Jamaican immigrants to become a distinguished military leader, a statesman, a humanitarian and a philanthropist. He is an inspiration to us all."
This year marked the forceful entrance of the talented Smith family on the entertainment scene with nominations for Willow (“Whip My Hair”), Jaden (The Karate Kid”) and Jada Pinkett Smith (“HawthoRNe”).
2011 Chairman’s Award recipient, filmmaker and television producer Tyler Perry’s was honored across multiple categories this year, receiving 19 nominations. His films “For Colored Girls” and “Why Did I Get Married Too?” swept the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture category – Anika Noni Rose, Kimberly Elise, Phylicia Rashad and Whoopi Goldberg were nominated for their work in “For Colored Girls” and Jill Scott was nominated for “Why Did I get Married Too?”
Notable nominations in the literature category include Alice Walker’s collection of poetry, “Hard Times Require Furious Dancing”; Jay-Z’s autobiography “Decoded”; and former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s memoir “Extraordinary, Ordinary People”. Michelle Alexander’s acclaimed “The New Jim Crow”, which examines the state of the criminal justice system is one of the nominees for Outstanding Literary Work of Nonfiction.
The NAACP Image Awards celebrate the accomplishments of people of color working in the fields of literature, music, television and film. The ceremony also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.