LOS ANGELES – Jamie Foxx’s quest for musical stardom got a boost Saturday at the 37th Annual NAACP Image Awards, where the Oscar-winning actor was picked as best male musical artist. Foxx, who received an Oscar last year for portraying Ray Charles in the movie “Ray,” has begun performing tracks from his album “Unpredictable.”
“It’s good to be surrounded by black folks,” Foxx said. “Black folks are music.”
Foxx said after the show that music was “what I always wanted to do.”
“The Bernie Mac Show” took top honors in three categories. Mac was picked as comedy series best actor, while co-star Camille Winbush took home best supporting actress and director Millicent Shelton got the top television directing nod.
“America, I heard your prayers, and you wanted me here,” said Mac, showing a bit of the standup comedy that made him famous. “The Mac Man cometh and I’m bringing hell with me.”
On his heels was comedian Chris Rock, whose life-story-based “Everybody Hates Chris” won best television series.
“I want to thank all the white kids who beat (me),” said Rock, joking with the crowd. “I’m rich!”
The awards honor black artists in movies, television, music and literature.
“Crash,” about racial tensions in Los Angeles, took the top movie award. The hometown film led movie contenders with six nominations, including best picture, four of the five supporting-actor slots — for Terrence Howard, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Don Cheadle and Larenz Tate — and for Thandie Newton as supporting actress.
Howard beat out his colleagues for the supporting actor nod, and also took best actor in a TV movie or miniseries for “Lackawanna Blues.”
Samuel L. Jackson took best actor award for “Coach Carter,” a story of a basketball coach who forced his players to emphasize studying over hoops.
Mariah Carey, nominated for four awards, kept her comeback streak going when her “Emancipation of Mimi” won best album. Carey’s win came just weeks after she took home three Grammy Awards.
Alicia Keys, who tied Carey for Image Award nominations, took home three awards: top female musical artist, top song and video awards for “Unbreakable.”
Two stars of the long-running soap opera “The Young and the Restless” won honors, with Shemar Moore and Victoria Rowell taking actor and actress awards for daytime drama.
Moore talked about feeling moved after meeting Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. who died earlier this month. “I think she is sitting up there with her husband smiling as we continue to chase the dream,” Moore said.
In a brief speech, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he felt the Image Awards were special in a town full of award shows because they stand for racial equality.
“We are not just reveling in the power of Hollywood, but challenging Hollywood to use that power for good,” Villaraigosa said.
Carlos Santana, who performed at the show, received the NAACP Hall of Fame Award while the Neville Brothers received the Chairman’s Award. Writer and businesswoman Susan Taylor was honored with the President’s Award.
The 37th Annual Image Awards, hosted by Cuba Gooding Jr., will air March 3 on Fox.