Coming up this Friday is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) 46th Annual Image Awards ceremony. The NAACP Image Awards is something like the black Oscars, Emmy and Golden Globe awards combined, and it’s usually good television and a good conversation starter as black viewers’ air out their surprise and grievances on Facebook and Black Twitter. This year’s NAACP Image Awards ceremony will make the usual bland acknowledgement of black politicos and self-declared activists in awarding former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder its Chairman’s Award and filmmaker Spike Lee its President’s Award in the special awards category. But if there is any surprise in the major categories, it’ll likely be in the Outstanding Supporting Actor, Actress and Supporting Actress categories.
That’s because it’s apparent that Selma is the black motion picture of the year. Selma‘s portrayal of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s hard-fought triumph at Selma is a wonder of cinematic nuance and storytelling. Also: nostalgia wins at the box office and MLK nostalgia is a sure bet among the NAACP Image crowd. So it’s doubly apparent that David Oyelowo, who gave a solid performance as MLK, will receive the award for Outstanding Actor. More broadly speaking, though, the NAACP Image Awards takes on greater importance this time around because this year’s Academy Awards slighted several black movies (Selma), actors, and directors (Ava DuVernay). Furthermore, post-racial America as a working concept in Hollywood has received a brutal beat down recently–both in a brilliant interview by Chris Rock in New York magazine and by direct evidence: this year’s dearth of Academy Award-nominated black performers. All of this has confirmed general black (at least, black highbrow) opinion about Hollywood’s ages-old recalcitrance. So this year it may be said: Long live the NAACP Image Awards!
Check it out Friday, February 6, 9 p.m. (EST) on TV One.