Did You and Your Friends Pull Up to the 2021 NAACP Image Awards? If Not, Here's What Went Down

Eddie Murphy, Jazmine Sullivan, Maxwell and Stacey Abrams at the 52nd NAACP Image Awards.
Eddie Murphy, Jazmine Sullivan, Maxwell and Stacey Abrams at the 52nd NAACP Image Awards.
Photo: Courtesy of NAACP/BET

After a week of Black-ass celebration, we’ve made it to the main event! The 52nd NAACP Awards televised ceremony took place on Saturday night and we have some highlights to...highlight!


We already broke down the past week of winners at the non-televised/virtual ceremony so if you missed that, we got you boo!

In a half-virtual/half-in-studio event, host Anthony Anderson (and 2021 Image Award winner!) joked that he was there for the “fifty-eleventh” time and that the double-A in NAACP stands for “Anthony Anderson.”

Jazmine Sullivan gave us beautiful blue hues during her performance of “Pick Up Your Feelings.”

Maxwell celebrated 25 years since his debut album Urban Hang Suite by giving us New York noir and performing the jam, “Ascension.”

As we continue to have conversations about the erasure of Black stories by mainstream (read: white) awards ceremonies, it’s always a special feeling to be celebrated by folks in your own community and the winners absolutely had that energy on Saturday night.


Speaking of joy, Issa Rae—who has provided us with laughs and other entertainment for years—chatted a bit with the The Root during the winners’ press conference and told us what brings her laughs and joy: Big Mouth!


“Outside of my friends and my group chats—Big Mouth has been a pleasant surprise and I only kind of learned about it and [recently] started checking for it,” Rae told The Root. “I’ve been a fan of [co-creator] Nick Kroll, I love him. But, when Quinta [Brunson] and Lena [Waithe] were on there [...] I started watching the show and it’s so hilarious! It is funny as hell and that has been a pleasant surprise of entertainment during this pandemic. It’s been a comfort zone for me.”

Also, I have to mention that this ceremony was two hours—nice and breezy! I need all award shows to be this short, to be honest! Granted, the reason why the NAACP was able to pull this off is because they’ve been celebrating the bulk of their award winners during mini-virtual events all week as we mentioned above, but maybe that should be the way to go moving forward!


The complete list of winners from the 52nd NAACP Image Awards televised ceremony are:

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series

Regé-Jean Page – Bridgerton

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series

Viola Davis – How To Get Away With Murder

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series

Issa Rae – Insecure

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture

Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture

Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Outstanding Motion Picture

“Bad Boys For Life”

Chairman’s Award

Rev. D. James Lawson

Presidents Award

LeBron James

Hall of Fame Award

Eddie Murphy

Entertainer of the Year


Social Justice Impact

Stacey Abrams

You can view the complete list of the 52nd NAACP Image Awards winners and nominees at naacpimageawards.net.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.



kudos to all of the winners, props to all the nominees! hopefully next year can be just as fun.