NAACP Image Awards Aren’t the Black Oscars but a Much-Needed Fete of Black Excellence

2016 NAACP Image Awards (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The NAACP Image Awards have been around for the past 48 years. That is almost five decades of honoring black excellence at the highest level. In 2015 and 2016, it seemed as if black America had been sent a memo that the esteemed Oscars were just for white talent, thus causing the internet to erupt in the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.

And while we deserve to be outraged over being ignored or treated as if we’re less-than in any capacity, the solution has and always will be: Create your own. We don’t need a seat at their table when we have our own.


So, no, the NAACP Image Awards are not a black answer to the Oscars; they’re a tangible testimony that our exceptional accomplishments deserve to be celebrated!

The NAACP Image Awards celebrate the accomplishment of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film, and also honor individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.

This is our night to celebrate our stars and our legacies. The all-star celebration will be hosted by Anthony Anderson and will broadcast live from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium 9-11 p.m ET on Saturday on TV One. A 90-minute preshow will air from the red carpet 7:30-9 p.m ET.

And this year, The Root will be in the building! We’re covering the red carpet, so make sure you stay tuned to our social media to get your fill of black excellence!


Greats like Taraji P. Henson, Sterling K. Brown, Octavia Spencer, Trevor Noah, Janelle Monáe, Issa Rae, Mike Colter and Mykelti Williamson are all NAACP Image Awards presenters.

Here are just a few of the nominees:

Entertainer of the Year

  • Chance the Rapper
  • Regina King
  • Dwayne Johnson
  • Beyoncé
  • Viola Davis

Outstanding Motion Picture

  • Hidden Figures
  • Moonlight
  • Fences
  • Loving
  • The Birth of a Nation

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture

  • Don Cheadle, Miles Ahead
  • Will Smith, Collateral Beauty
  • Stephan James, Race
  • Denzel Washington, Fences
  • Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture

  • Madina Nalwanga, Queen of Katwe
  • Tika Sumpter, Southside with You
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures
  • Angela Bassett, London Has Fallen

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

  • Alano Miller, Loving
  • David Oyelowo, Queen of Katwe
  • Trevante Rhodes, Moonlight
  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Chadwick Boseman, Captain America: Civil War

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Mo’Nique, Almost Christmas
  • Aja Naomi King, The Birth of a Nation
  • Lupita Nyong’o, Queen of Katwe

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture

  • Lion
  • Miles Ahead
  • The Birth of a Nation
  • Moonlight
  • Loving

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • Insecure
  • Black-ish
  • Survivor’s Remorse
  • The Carmichael Show
  • Atlanta

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Dwayne Johnson, Ballers
  • Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
  • Donald Glover, Atlanta
  • Don Cheadle, House of Lies
  • Kevin Hart, Real Husbands of Hollywood

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Issa Rae, Insecure
  • Keesha Sharp, Lethal Weapon
  • Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
  • Niecy Nash, Soul Man
  • Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Laurence Fishburne, Black-ish
  • David Alan Grier, The Carmichael Show
  • Deon Cole, Black-ish
  • Miles Brown, Black-ish
  • Tituss Burgess, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Laverne Cox, Orange Is the New Black
  • Erica Ash, Survivor’s Remorse
  • Yvonne Orji, Insecure
  • Marsai Martin, Black-ish
  • Tichina Arnold, Survivor’s Remorse

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Power
  • Empire
  • Underground
  • This Is Us
  • Queen Sugar

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series

  • Terrence Howard, Empire
  • Mike Colter, Marvel’s Luke Cage
  • Kofi Siriboe, Queen Sugar
  • Omari Hardwick, Power
  • Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series

  • Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Underground
  • Taraji P. Henson, Empire
  • Rutina Wesley, Queen Sugar
  • Kerry Washington, Scandal
  • Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Trai Byers, Empire
  • Jussie Smollett, Empire
  • Joe Morton, Scandal
  • Jesse Williams, Grey’s Anatomy
  • Alfred Enoch, How to Get Away With Murder

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away With Murder
  • Lynn Whitfield, Greenleaf
  • Amirah Vann, Underground
  • CCH Pounder, NCIS: New Orleans
  • Naturi Naughton, Power

See the full list of nominees here!

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About the author

Danielle Young

Pretty. Witty. Girly. Worldly. One who likes to party, but comes home early. I got stories to tell. Prince (yes, that Prince) called me excellence. Achievement unlocked.