Image Awards bring in the fun

NAACP kudos offers lively entertainment

Friday’s NAACP Image Awards were what the Oscars should have been – a fun, lively awards show.

Hosts Holly Robinson Peete and Wayne Brady opened with a song that reflected on the year, which included Robinson Peete crooning, “We promise to give our kids our all — and stop naming them after alcohol. We promise to stop getting face tattoos – Gucci Mane, Little Wayne, we’re talking to you.” Brady chimed in with a re-write of Usher’s “Oh My God,” to which he sang, “It’s like Oscar night, except we actually nominated black people,” and later, “Charlie Sheen is the new Rick James.”

Winners weren’t afraid to have fun, even at their own expenses. After winning for his turn in “Mother and Child,” Samuel L. Jackson said, “I’m sure some of you are saying, ‘What movie was that?'” Presenter Russell Peters made the most of his time on stage with: “Here come the nominees for outstanding actor in a daytime drama – also known as an award Indian people won’t be nominated for for at least another 20 years.”

But the night’s biggest surprise was when Prince came on stage to present the award for best actress in a motion picture. The crowd erupted into a standing ovation that lasted so long, the purple-suited Prince was cut off from actually saying anything and clips of the nominees rolled. Starstruck winner Halle Berry said of Prince, “I’ve only been in love with you my whole life.”

The NAACP took over the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills for the afterparty, with dozens of food stations, tables, bands and a dance floor. The talk of the night was the combo of Berry and Prince – some said it was too much sexiness for one stage. Nominee Anthony Mackie’s response? “I was trying to figure out which one of them I wanted to kiss.”

But Niecy Nash was a little less turned on. “I was on my feet like everyone else,” she said. “Then I thought, ‘Wait a minute – do Prince and Halle Berry have the same haircut?”

Tyler Perry held his own afterparty at Boulevard 3, where Mary J. Blige performed. Attendees danced and snacked on Southern comfort foods, and guests included Kerry Washington, Phylicia Rashad, Nnamdi Asomugha, Terry Crews and Craig Robinson, who lit up the dance floor with some splits.