The movie “Sister Act” took two prizes at the 25th NAACP Image Awards, while soap opera “The Young and the Restless” and TV drama “I’ll Fly Away” each won in three categories.
The awards are given to individuals and organizations who present positive images of black people. This year’s submissions covered shows released from fall 1991 through fall 1992.
Michael Jackson was honored as Entertainer of the Year. “His achievements in the entertainment world are legendary,” said William Gibson, chairman of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People’s national board.
And much to the crowd’s delight, Jackson actually showed up in person to pick up his award. “I accept this award on behalf of the world’s healing,” he told the audience of more than 2,200.
The five-hour ceremonies were held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on Saturday, followed by dinner.
In one of the more awkward moments of the evening, the crowd jeered when Jackson, who is scheduled to perform at the Clinton inaugural this week, wouldn’t sing for them. Though he said he had laryngitis, after enough goading from the audience, Jackson gave in and sang a few refrains from his new single “Heal the World.”
Other awardees, however, savored the limelight as a chance to give their views on the changing role of blacks in Hollywood.
Late night talk show host Arsenio Hall dubbed the 1990s “an era of turnaround in Hollywood.”
“It’s so nice that black Hollywood is turning around and coming together,” he told the press corps after he received the Key of Life award along with basketball legend Magic Johnson and actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner for their involvement in the creation of the original videocassette program, “Time Out: The Truth About HIV, AIDS and You.”
When asked how he felt about David Letterman going to NBC, Halllaughed and turned to Johnson and Jamal Warner. “Other than these two gentlemen, I have someone else I can borrow money from,” he replied.
Many of the awardees said they had to take the initiative to change the stereotypical images of blacks. “I say it’s up to the artists themselves to demand not to be made buffoons of on half-hour TV,” said Charles Dutton, who received the actor in a comedy series award for “Roc.”
Rev. Jesse Jackson, who received the Roy Wilkins Civil Rights Award, charged that the images of blacks depicted on TV “don’t project the depth and breadth of our experience. We got rhythm, but rhythm ain’t all we got.” Jackson dedicated his award to the people of Haiti.
“We still have a long way to go,” said Regina Taylor, who won the actress in a drama series prize for her performance in “I’ll Fly Away.” The show, whose survival is endangered by its low ratings, also won best series. Both Taylor and the show’s executive producer, Barbara Hall, expressed disappointment over NBC’s inability to place the show in a stable time period.
Award presenters included Debbie Allen, Halle Berry, Diahann Carroll, Jasmine Guy, Patti LaBelle, Kris Kross, Craig Nelson, Montel Williams, Della Reese and Phylicia Rashad.
A complete list of award winners follows:
Motion picture –“Sister Act”
Actor in a motion picture — Denzel Washington, “Mississippi Masala”
Actress in a motion picture — Whoopi Goldberg, “Sister Act.”
Comedy series –“Martin”
Actor in a comedy series — Charles S. Dutton, “Roc”
Actress in a comedy series — Jasmine Guy, “A Different World.”
Drama series, television, movie or miniseries –“I’ll Fly Away”
Actor in a drama series, television, movie or miniseries — Dorian Harewood, “I’ll Fly Away”
Actress in a drama series, television, movie or miniseries — Regina Taylor, “I’ll Fly Away.”
Variety series –“In Living Color”
Variety special –“Great Performances: Natalie Cole–Unforgettable With Love”
News, talk or informational series/special –“The Oprah Winfrey Show”
Daytime drama –“The Young and the Restless”
Actor in a daytime drama — Kristoff St. John, “The Young and the Restless.”
Actress in a daytime drama — Victoria Rowell, “The Young and the Restless.”
Youth actor/actress under 18 — Jaleel White, “Family Matters.”
New artist or group — Arrested Development
Gospel artist or group — BeBe & CeCe Winans
Jazz artist or group — Wynton Marsalis
Rap artist or group — Arrested Development
World music artist or group — Shabba Ranks
Male artist — Stevie Wonder
Female artist — Vanessa Williams
Vocal group — Boyz II Men
Musicvideo –“Black or White”
Album –“Boomerang,” various artists
Literary work –“Waiting to Exhale,” Terry McMillan