The NAACP Image Award is an annual awards ceremony presented by the American National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to honor outstanding people of color in film, television, music, and literature. Similar to other awards, like the Oscars and the Grammys, the over 40 categories of the Image Awards are voted on by the award organization's members (in this case, NAACP members). Honorary awards (similar to the Academy Honorary Award) have also been included, such as the President's Award, the Chairman's Award, Entertainer of the Year and the Hall of Fame Award.
The award ceremony was first presented in 1967 and was first nationally televised in 1994 on the Fox Network. There was no awards ceremony in 1973 or 1995. The first live broadcast of the event, also on the Fox Network, occurred in 2007 for its 38th edition (up until 2007, the ceremony had been broadcast with tape delay) and the annual ceremonies usually take place in or around the Los Angeles, United States area, in February or early March. The 44th edition aired on NBC. Sources have had trouble verifying the winners in the top categories from 1983-1995.
The New York firm Society Awards manufactures the trophy since its redesign in 2008.
|1967 (1st)||February 4||Beverly Hilton Hotel|
|1974 (7th)||January 19||Hollywood Palladium|
|1980 (12th)||January 27||Louis Gossett, Jr./Rita Moreno/Ted Lange/Benjamin Hooks||Hollywood Palladium|
|1982 (15th)||December 5||Robert Guillaume||Hollywood Palladium|
|1983 (16th)||December||Jayne Kennedy/George Peppard/Michael Warren|
|1984 (17th)||December 4||Dorothy Chandler Pavilion|
|1987 (20th)||December 13||Debbie Allen/Denzel Washington|
|1990 (23rd)||December 9|
|1992 (25th)||January 11|
|1993 (26th)||January 16||Pasadena Civic Auditorium|
|1994 (27th)||January 5|
|1996 (28th)||April||Whitney Houston/Denzel Washington||Pasadena Civic Auditorium|
|1997 (29th)||February 8||Arsenio Hall/Patti LaBelle|
|1998 (30th)||February 14||Vanessa L. Williams/Gregory Hines|
|1999 (31st)||February 14||Mariah Carey/Blair Underwood||Pasadena Civic Auditorium|
|2000 (32nd)||February 12||Diana Ross|
|2001 (33rd)||February 23||Chris Tucker||Universal Amphitheatre|
|2002 (34th)||March 3||Chris Tucker|
|2003 (35th)||March 8||Cedric the Entertainer|
|2004 (36th)||March 6||Tracee Ellis Ross/Golden Brooks/Persia White/Jill Marie Jones|
|2005 (37th)||March 25||Chris Tucker||Dorothy Chandler Pavilion|
|2006 (38th)||March 3||Cuba Gooding, Jr.||Shrine Auditorium|
|2007 (39th)||March 2||LL Cool J|
|2008 (40th)||February 14||D. L. Hughley|
|2009 (41st)||February 12||Halle Berry/Tyler Perry|
|2010 (42nd)||February 26||Anika Noni Rose/Hill Harper|
|2011 (43rd)||March 4||Wayne Brady/Holly Robinson Peete|
|2012 (44th)||February 17||Sanaa Lathan/Anthony Mackie|
|2013 (45th)||February 1||Steve Harvey|
|2014 (46th)||February 22||Anthony Anderson||Pasadena Civic Auditorium|
|2015 (47th)||February 6|
|2016 (48th)||February 5|
|2017 (49th)||January 15|
In 1987, the NAACP came under fire for dropping their Best Actress award for that year. They defended this position, citing a lack of meaningful roles for black women. In 1990, they were criticized once again for not awarding Best Actress. This was the fourth time it could not find enough nominees for Best Actress. Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the organization's Beverly Hills/Hollywood branch, said "The [film] industry has yet to show diversity or present realistic leading roles for African-American women."
The NAACP Image Awards have been the subject of controversy due to prior claims that certain nominees were undeserving of NAACP attention. In response, parties have argued that the quality of an artist's work is the salient issue, with factors such as criminal charges inconsequential in this regard. For example, in 1994, Tupac Shakur was a nominee for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for the film Poetic Justice following sexual assault charges in December 1993. More specifically, Shakur was accused of felony counts of forcible sodomy and unlawful detainment in New York City, when a woman alleged that Shakur and two other men held her down in a hotel room while a fourth man sodomized her. Shakur was also indicted with two counts of aggravated assault in an unrelated incident in which he supposedly shot and wounded two off-duty police officers. In the same year, Martin Lawrence was criticized for winning Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Comedy Series and the show was criticized for its sexual controversy. In 2004, R. Kelly's Chocolate Factory was nominated for Outstanding Album while he was under indictment for charges related to child pornography.
Other nominees have faced controversy due to their portrayals of major civil rights figures. In 2003, the movie, Barbershop, received five nominations, including Outstanding Motion Picture and Outstanding Supporting Actor (for Cedric the Entertainer's performance). In the film, Cedric's character makes pejorative remarks about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Michael Jackson and Jesse Jackson, content that elicited criticism, including Rosa Parks boycotting the awards event. The rap group OutKast received six nominations in 2004 but faced criticism because they had previously recorded a song titled "Rosa Parks" which had resulted in them being sued by Parks over the use of her name.
These are the major categories: