Beyoncé, Jay-Z and ‘Black Panther’ win big at 50th Annual NAACP Image Awards

Free Press wire reports | 4/5/2019, 6 a.m.
Queen Bey still reigns supreme. Beyoncé was named Entertainer of the Year at the 50th Annual NAACP Image Awards that ...
Letitia Wright accepts the award for outstanding breakthrough performance in a motion picture for her role in “Black Panther” at the NAACP Image Awards last Saturday in Los Angeles. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Beyoncé gives an emotional acceptance speech after winning the entertainer of the year award at the NAACP Image Awards last Saturday in Los Angeles.

Beyoncé gives an emotional acceptance speech after winning the entertainer of the year award at the NAACP Image Awards last Saturday in Los Angeles.


Queen Bey still reigns supreme.

Beyoncé was named Entertainer of the Year at the 50th Annual NAACP Image Awards that highlighted works by entertainers and writers of color.

After Beyoncé accepted the award Saturday night, the superstar paid homage to the people who were nominated with her in the category. She beat out Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, actors Regina King and Chadwick Boseman and director Ryan Coogler.

“Regina King, I love you so much. You taught us patience, persistence and how to be masterful in your craft,” the superstar said. “Chadwick Boseman is teaching children to dream and to be seen as kings. LeBron James has taught us the strength of all forms, leading by example and providing education to our kids. Ryan Coogler tells our stories in a way that celebrates our history and proves we do have power.”

Beyoncé added, “I’m honored to be included among all of you, and to be a part of a vital and thriving community. Thank you to the NAACP.”

Beyoncé released a joint album last year with her husband, Jay-Z, called “Everything is Love.” The prolific singer also paid tribute to historically black colleges and universities, as well as to the dance troupes and step teams that were part of her groundbreaking, two-hour Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival performance last year. She also performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the black national anthem, at the festival and donated $100,000 to four HBCUs shortly after her performance.

The NAACP Image Awards ceremony aired live on TV One from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, the same venue that hosts the Academy Awards.

Jay-Z received the NAACP President’s Award for the rapper’s public service achievements. He was recognized for his efforts through his Shawn Carter Foundation and serving as co-founder of the REFORM Alliance.

Jay-Z was executive producer of the documentaries “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story” and “Time: The Kalief Browder Story,” along with an animated documentary short, “The War on Drugs is an Epic Fail.” That documentary highlighted the unfavorable treatment of African-American and Latino people when it comes to drug-related crimes.

Jay-Z quoted President Abraham Lincoln after he accepted his award and dedicated his trophy to his 93-year-old grandmother, Hattie White, saying: “She’s so full of life.” He also paid homage to the women in his life, including his wife, Beyoncé, who smiled while her husband made his speech.

“It’s not the amount of years in your life. It’s the amount of life in your years,” he said. “That quote embodies my beautiful grandmother.”

The blockbuster film “Black Panther” was awarded best motion picture. The Marvel hit beat out “BlacKkKlansman,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “The Hate U Give.”

The superhero film was a cultural phenomenon. It earned $700 million domestically during it theatrical run beginning in 2018.

“Black Panther” won in several other categories. Mr. Boseman, who portrayed the iconic figure in the film’s mythical nation of Wakanda, won the award for best actor in a motion picture, Michael B. Jordan won best supporting actor in a motion picture and Mr. Coogler won for best directing in a motion picture.

Jussie Smollett, who lost to “Grey’s Anatomy” star Jessie Williams in the supporting actor in a drama series category, did not attend the awards ceremony. It had been a tumultuous week for the “Empire” star after a felony case against him was dropped in Chicago.

Actor-comedian Chris Rock took verbal jabs at Mr. Smollett before he presented outstanding comedy series to ABC’s “black-ish.”

“They said no Jussie Smollett jokes,” Mr. Rock said. “Yeah, I know, but what a waste of light skin. Do you know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair, my career would be out of here. I would be running Hollywood. What the hell was he thinking? You are known as ‘Jessie’ from now on. You don’t even get the ‘u’ anymore. That ‘u’ was for respect. You ain’t getting no respect from me.”

In response to Mr. Rock’s jokes, “black-ish” star Yara Shahidi made her stance in the Smollett controversy obvious.

“I stand with Jussie,” Ms. Shahidi said before she handed the microphone to Marcus Scribner and ducked into her crowd of castmates that included Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross.

Mr. Anderson returned for a second year as host of the awards show and won best actor in a comedy series. He opened the awards speaking about “black excellence” in film, hoping his behavior wouldn’t get him removed as host and made several jokes, including one about Kanye West not being invited to cookouts.

Mr. Anderson brought his mother onstage and dedicated his Image Award to “the woman who raised me in Watts (California) and pushed me to become an actor.”

“Everything I do on screen is for you, Mama,” Mr. Anderson said to his mother, who clutched his award. He also gave a shoutout to U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California.

Congresswoman Waters received the NAACP Chairman’s Award for Public Service. She spoke about young voters taking a stance at the polls, her thoughts on getting rid of the Electoral College and President Trump’s presidency.

“I still think he needs to be impeached,” Rep. Waters said of President Trump. “This president has defined himself as a liar.”

Donald Glover, who won four Grammys this year, received an NAACP Image Award for his directing on “Atlanta.” On the music side, his alter-ego, Childish Gambino, won best music video for “This Is America.”