BET broadcast the 52nd NAACP Annual Image Awards Saturday night and the show was broadcast simultaneously on other outlets ViacomCBS BET Her, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV, MTV2, Paramount, Pop, Smithsonian, TV Land, VH1, BET Pluto, CMT. For the first time, it also aired on CBS. Ironically, the awards ceremony that celebrates the work and achievements of black people was opened by an old white man and a biracial woman – President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
The opening by Biden and Harris was truly commendable. The first sentence from Biden was that he was a life member of the NAACP. He then introduced Harris who bragged about the accomplishments of the Biden administration.
Joe Biden: Good evening everyone, it is an honor to be a part of the special evening as a life member of the NAACP. And to you Derek for the exceptional leadership of this organization, for over 100 years the NAACP has advanced a vital movement in a central movement that everyone is created equal and will be treated equally. And the NAACP Awards have been helping us see exactly that for over 50 years. Black culture is American culture. Black history is American history. And black stories are essential to America’s continuing history. Tonight’s nominees, thank you all for helping us see what America can be like as well. And I am honored to introduce to you someone who has done just that. Our Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris.
Kamala Harris: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The NAACP Image Awards are for black excellence in film and television, music and literature. And over the past year, we’ve seen so many actors and artists excel not only in their craft, but also in their contributions to our community during this devastating pandemic. And the NAACP has led the way throughout the struggle for justice, ensuring the well-being of the black community, providing grants to black entrepreneurs, and advocating for black students. I thank you. As a nation, we are at a major turning point. We have passed 100 million shots. We have sent over 100 million checks and are making historic investments in black schools, small businesses and communities across the country. And there is still a long way to go. So tonight let’s celebrate, and tomorrow let’s get back to work.
Biden and Harris: Welcome to 52nd NAACP Annual Awards.
Blackish Star Anthony Anderson was the host again. He described Biden and Harris as “Joe, the wise old grandpa” and Kamala as “the hip aunt” after saying he “loved their dynamics.” Cringeworthy, like I said. Another political reference for Anderson was when he showed his amazement that a black man had been elected to the United States Senate from Georgia – Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock. “Look, I’m not going to lie. Even I thought we had done something fishy, ”he said. Apparently, the alleged electoral fraud is funny to him.
The first Social Justice Impact Prize went to Stacey Abrams. Michelle Obama introduced it to her, virtually, as she recounted Abrams’ life. Anthony Anderson introduced Obama as “our forever First Lady” and Obama said Abrams is “a woman who inspires us all”. They managed to flout his electoral conspiracy theories and his refusal to concede the 2018 governor’s race.
LeBron James won the President’s Award. NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson spoke about LeBron’s charitable work and activism. He applauded him for “not just shutting up and dribbling”. LeBron’s “More Than A Vote” campaign initiative was highlighted. He said it fought against those who want to “deny us our right to be heard.” His work with school children has also won him praise.
It is striking that with the change of president, the awards show suddenly become boring. The cries and curses of celebrities versus the bad orange man and the Republicans are gone, now, instead, the current occupants of the White House are included and celebrated in the festivities. The award recipients would like to thank those who should be thanked and the show goes on. The next four years of the awards show are unlikely to be anything like the past four years.