The 44th Annual NAACP IMAGE AWARDSwere held at The Shrine Auditorium on Friday night (February 1) in Los Angeles, California. The show was hosted by comedian Steve Harvey and was definitely a positive portrayal of black entertainment.
The big winner of the night was actress Kerry Washington, who received awards for Best Actress in a Drama Series for Scandal and Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for Django Unchained. She also walked away with the President’s Award for public service. Her ‘Django Unchained’ co-star, Jamie Foxx was honored with the ‘Entertainer of the Year’ award.
Vice Admiral Michelle Howard, the first African-American woman to achieve three star rank in the U.S. Armed Forces was the recipient of the Chairman’s Award.
Legendary actor Harry Belafonte was the honoree of the Spingarn Medal for outstanding achievement and his long-time friend actor Sidney Poitier presented him with the honor. After his amazing speech (read it below), Mr. Belafonte was then surprised with a performance by singer-songwriter Wycelf Jean and rapper Common, with their freestyle rendition of his hit 1950s song, “Day-O (Banana Boat Song)”.
If you missed the show, you definitely missed some positive energy and inspiration. However, we do have you covered on the photo end. Check out our full gallery above and visit the official NAACP IMAGE AWARDS website for the list of winners…
HARRY BELAFONTE’S SPEECH AT THE 44TH ANNUAL NAACP IMAGE AWARDS (2013)
THE GROUP MOST DEVASTATED BY AMERICA’S OBSESSION WITH THE GUN IS AFRICAN AMERICANS. ALTHOUGH MAKING COMPARISONS CAN BE DANGEROUS, THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THEY MUST BE NOTED. AMERICA HAS THE LARGEST PRISON POPULATION IN THE WORLD AND OF THE OVER 2 MILLION MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN WHO MAKE UP THE INCARCERATED… THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY IS BLACK.
THEY ARE THE MOST UNEMPLOYED… THE MOST CAUGHT IN UNJUST SYSTEMS OF JUSTICE… AND IN THE GUN GAME… THE MOST HUNTED. THE RIVER OF BLOOD THAT WASHES THE STREETS OF OUR NATION… FLOWS MOSTLY FROM THE BODIES OF OUR BLACK CHILDREN. YET AS THE GREAT DEBATE EMERGES ON THE QUESTION OF THE GUN, WHITE AMERICA DISCUSSES THE CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE OF OWNERSHIP WHILE NO ONE SPEAKS TO THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR RACIAL CARNAGE. WHERE IS THE RAISED VOICE OF BLACK AMERICA? WHY ARE WE MUTE? WHERE ARE OUR LEADERS ? OUR LEGISLATORS ? WHERE IS THE CHURCH?
NOT ALL …BUT MANY WHO HAVE BEEN RECIPIENTS OF THIS DISTINGUISHED AWARD WERE MEN AND WOMEN WHO SPOKE UP TO REMEDY THE ILLS OF THE NATION. THEY WERE COMMITTED TO RADICAL THOUGHT. THEY WERE MY MENTORS, MY INSPIRATION, MY MORAL COMPASS. THROUGH THEM I UNDERSTOOD AMERICA’S GREATNESS. DR. W.E.B. DUBOIS, MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, FANNIE LOU HAMER, ELLA BAKER, BOBBY KENNEDY, CONNIE RICE, AND PERHAPS MOST OF ALL, PAUL ROBESON. FOR ME, HE WAS THE SPARROW. HE WAS AN ARTIST WHO MADE US UNDERSTAND THE DEPTH OF THAT CALLING WHEN HE SAID ” ARTISTS ARE THE GATE KEEPERS OF TRUTH. WE ARE THE CIVILIZATION’S RADICAL VOICE.”
NEVER IN THE HISTORY OF BLACK AMERICA HAS THERE EVER BEEN SUCH A HARVEST OF TRULY GIFTED AND POWERFUL ARTISTS… OUR NATION HUNGERS FOR THEIR RADICAL SONG…. LET US NOT SIT BACK SILENTLY. LET US NOT BE CHARGED WITH PATRIOTIC TREASON.
- Harry Belafonte