The NAACP Image awards 2023 is a huge celebration of Black excellence: these awards honor artists, entertainers, and activists who have greatly contributed to the Black community. The ceremony takes place each year around the first week of February.
The event was hosted by Queen Latifah and celebrated the achievements of Black creators, actors, musicians, and activists in film, television, etc. Nominations occur several months before the awards ceremony and the general public votes on winners.
This year’s awards ceremony kicked off with a live audience and was broadcasted on BET. It’s been a long time coming, seeing that it was the first time the show has had a live audience since the coronavirus pandemic in 2017.
The Image Award Winners
Wakanda Forever and Abbott Elementary led this year’s Image Awards with seven awards each. Other big winners included Angela Bassett (who picked up two awards), Keke Palmer, Quinta Brunson, Nia Long, Chris Brown, and Will Smith.
Will Smith wins best actor in a motion picture for Emancipation.
The movie “Emancipation” won the top prize at the 54th NAACP Image Awards. A win that Will Smith said he was “humbled” to receive on Saturday night. He took to Instagram to thank director Antoine Fuqua and others for their work on the Apple film.
Queen Latifah opens the NAACP Image awards with a strong tribute to women of color.
The awards ceremony host began the night with a robust shoutout to Black women like Angela Bassett and Serena Williams (who received the Jackie Robinson Sports Award). Later in the telecast, Brittney Griner, who was recently detained in Russia appeared as she welcomed her wife, Cherelle, to the stage.
Amid the flurry of awards, Benjamin Crump was honored with the Social Justice Impact Award. The award honored his work representing families who have been victims of police violence. He urged the crowd to keep fighting for justice. Meanwhile, they cheered loudly as he delivered his speech.
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade were also honored with the President’s Award. The awards recognize individuals for their contributions to civil rights. Ben Crump accepted the social justice award, while Rep. Bennie G. Thompson won the Chairman’s Award for investigating the 2021 Capitol Building attack.
Angela Bassett was nominated for best actress in a drama series and Entertainer of the Year. During the telecast, she looked incredible in her white one-piece pantsuit with ruffled sleeve accents. The actress said her award meant a lot to her and she’s looking forward to returning to the awards show next year.
As for the rest of the nominees, it was a great night for television, with Gina Prince-Bythewood’s “The Woman King” leading the competition. Followed by “Abbott Elementary.” Other TV projects nominated included “Lightyear,” “Black Lightning” and “9-1-1.”
The night’s big winner was the superhero blockbuster “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” which scored the top award in the motion picture category. It also won the outstanding animated feature film. Meanwhile, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o, picked up honors for their performance as Queen Nefertiti and Nakia.