Controversies, History, Presented By, Categories

NAACP Image Awards

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the United States hosts the “NAACP Image Awards” every year to celebrate outstanding work in theatre, music, cinema, television, and literature. The members of the award association vote on the approximately 40 categories of the Image Awards, just like they do with other awards like the Grammys and the Oscars. The President’s Award, the Chairman’s Award, the Entertainer of the Year Award, and the Hall of Fame Award are examples of honorary awards (like the Academy Honorary Award).

This award was presented by the NAACP


The Beverly Hills-Hollywood NAACP branch leaders Willis Edwards, Sammy Davis Jr., and Maggie Hathaway arranged and presented the award event for the first time on August 13, 1967. The awards were initially taped for television by NBC, which aired them in January on weeks when Saturday Night Live didn’t have a new episode from 1987 to 1994. However, starting in 1996, it would only be telecast in primetime. The following years had no awards ceremony because of changes in the schedule of the awards: 1991, when the time was altered back to late in a calendar year to celebrate that same year; 1973, when the timing was adjusted to celebrate a full calendar year early in the following year (reverted to a “late-in-year” ceremony for 1981–1990); 1995, however, note that the explanation is not entirely clear.

The yearly ceremonies typically take place in or near the Los Angeles area, in February or early March, and were first broadcast live in 2007 for their 38th edition on the Fox Network (before that, the ceremony had been broadcast with tape delay). On NBC, the 44th edition aired. It has been difficult for sources to confirm who won the top categories from 1983 to 1995.

Since its makeover in 2008, the trophy is manufactured by the New York company Society Awards.

Award categories

These are the major categories:

  • Motion picture
  • Podcast
  • Television
  • Music
  • Literature
  • Special awards


The NAACP faced criticism in 1987 when it decided not to give out its Best Actress award for that year. They defended their viewpoint by pointing out the lack of important roles for black women. They received criticism for not giving out Best Actress awards again in 1990. For the fourth time, there weren’t enough nominees for Best Actress. The Beverly Hills/Hollywood branch of the group’s president, Sandra Evers-Manly, stated that “the [film] industry has yet to show variety or present realistic main roles for African-American women.”

Some finalists have been criticized for not deserving NAACP recognition in previous years. Some NAACP representatives have responded by asserting that the quality of an artist’s work is a crucial issue and that other elements, such as criminal accusations, are irrelevant. For example, Tupac Shakur was nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture in 1994 for the movie Poetic Justice despite the fact that he had been accused of sexual assault in December 1993. More precisely, a lady claimed that Shakur and two other men held her down in a hotel room while a fourth guy forcibly brutally raped her. As a result, the woman accused Shakur of felony counts of forcible sodomy and unlawful detainment in New York City. In another unconnected incident, Shakur was charged with two counts of aggravated assault after he allegedly shot and injured two off-duty police officers. The show was condemned for its sexual issues, and Martin Lawrence received criticism for receiving Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Comedy Series in the same year. R. Kelly’s Chocolate Factory was nominated for an award for Outstanding Album in 2004 while he was being investigated for allegations of child pornography.

Other nominees have drawn criticism for how they have portrayed important civil rights figures. Five nominations were made for the 2003 film Barbershop, including one each for Outstanding Motion Picture and Outstanding Supporting Actor (for Cedric the Entertainer’s work). In the movie, Cedric’s character criticizes Martin Luther King Jr., Michael Jackson, Jesse Jackson, and Rosa Parks. This led to a backlash, including Rosa Parks’s decision not to attend the awards ceremony. OutKast, a rap group, received six nominations in 2004, however, they were criticized for using the song “Rosa Parks” before Parks filed a lawsuit against them for using her name.


Who has received the most NAACP Image Awards?

Beyoncé holds the record for the NAACP Image Awards’ most accolades ever won with a total of 22.

What exactly does the NAACP Award mean?

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is known by the acronym NAACP.

Who owns NAACP Image Awards?

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the United States hosts the NAACP Image Awards every year to celebrate outstanding work in theatre, music, cinema, television, and literature