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NAACP Image Awards: Taraji P. Henson Says ‘We Don’t Need to Ask for Acceptance From Anyone’

Hollywood’s elite celebrated the year’s efforts to diversify entertainment Friday night at the NAACP Image Awards, where awards season diversity reigned as a hot topic in the wake of the controversy surrounding 2016’s Oscar nominations.

“We don’t need to ask for acceptance from anyone. We are enough, we’ve been enough and we always will be enough,” said “Empire’s” Taraji P. Henson while accepting her award for outstanding actress in a drama series. “Empire” and “black-ish” topped the television category, both winning three awards.

“Creed’s” Michael B. Jordan also won big, grabbing the awards for outstanding actor in a motion picture and entertainer of the year.  “Straight Outta Compton” was honored with the award for outstanding motion picture.

“We need to do away with the myth that black film doesn’t have a foreign market, because it does,” “Scandal’s” Joe Morton told Variety before the show, held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. “There needs to be somebody who’s either black or brown who’s in a position to greenlight major motion pictures, to tell those stories on that level.  I know that Miss Boone wants to make the [Academy’s] membership more diverse, which will be a big help,” he said.  Morton nabbed the NAACP Image Award for outstanding actor in a drama series, which was presented in a non-televised awards ceremony Thursday night.

 Ice Cube and Michael B. Jordan at the NAACP Image Awards. Photo by Jim Smeal/REX Shutterstock

Contributing to the diversity conversation, “Master of None’s” Lena Waithe added, “All we can do is continue to create great work, so that way we can continue to rally when we aren’t recognized. If we don’t have the stuff out there, we can’t really complain.”

Image Awards host Anthony Anderson channeled rap group N.W.A in his opening performance, rapping a “Straight Outta Compton” spoof about the lack of diversity in this year’s awards season and snubs including “Beasts of No Nation” and “Creed.”  The “black-ish” actor — who picked up the Image Award for outstanding actor in a comedy — donned a hat that read “Nominees With Attitude” during his rap performance.

“Hollywood needs to know that this is what diversity is supposed to look like,” Anderson said following the performance.

The awards ceremony also featured performances by “Empire’s” Jussie Smollett, R&B artist Alice Smith and nine-time Grammy winner John Legend, who was presented with the NAACP President’s Award for his humanitarian efforts.

“We know that we stand on the shoulders of giants who risk their lives to bring us closer to true freedom,” said Legend during his acceptance speech.

Below is the complete list of 47th annual NAACP Image Awards winners:

Outstanding Comedy Series: “black-ish” (ABC)

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series: Anthony Anderson – “black-ish” (ABC)

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series: Tracee Ellis Ross – “black-ish” (ABC)

Outstanding Drama Series: “Empire” (FOX)

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series: Terrence Howard – “Empire” (FOX)

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series: Taraji P. Henson – “Empire” (FOX)

Outstanding Motion Picture: “Straight Outta Compton” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture: Michael B. Jordan – “Creed” (Warner Bros. Pictures/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture: Sanaa Lathan – “The Perfect Guy” (Screen Gems)

Entertainer of the Year: Michael B. Jordan

The winners from last night’s NAACP Image Awards non-televised awards dinner were:

Television Categories

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Mike Epps – “Survivor’s Remorse” (Starz)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Marsai Martin – “black-ish” (ABC)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Joe Morton – “Scandal” (ABC)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Regina King – “American Crime” (ABC)

Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series, or Dramatic Special: “The Wiz Live!” (NBC)

Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini- Series, or Dramatic Special: David Alan Grier – “The Wiz Live!” (NBC)

Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini- Series, or Dramatic Special: Queen Latifah – “Bessie” (HBO)

Outstanding News/Information (Series or Special): “Unsung” (TV One)

Outstanding Talk Series: “The Talk” (CBS)

Outstanding Reality Program/Reality Competition Series: “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” (OWN)

Outstanding Variety (Series or Special): “Family Feud” (Syndicated)

Outstanding Children’s Program: “Doc McStuffins” (Disney Junior)

Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Mini-Series): Marcus Scribner – “black-ish” (ABC)

Outstanding Host in a News, Talk, Reality, or Variety Program (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble: Steve Harvey- “Family Feud” (Syndicated)

Recording Categories

Outstanding New Artist: Jussie Smollett (Columbia Records)

Outstanding Male Artist: Pharrell Williams (Columbia Records)

Outstanding Female Artist: Jill Scott (Atlantic Records)

Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration: “Conqueror” – Empire Cast feat. Estelle & Jussie Smollett (Columbia Records)

Outstanding Jazz Album:“Miles Davis at Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol.4” – Miles Davis (Columbia Legacy Recordings)

Outstanding Gospel Album (Traditional or Contemporary): “It’s Personal” – Tina Campbell (Gee Tree Creative)

Outstanding Music Video: “Shame” – Tyrese Gibson (Voltron Recordz)

Outstanding Song – Traditional: “Back Together” – Jill Scott (Atlantic Records)

Outstanding Album: “Woman” – Jill Scott (Atlantic Records)

Outstanding Song – Contemporary: “You’re So Beautiful” – Empire Cast feat. Jussie Smollett & Yazz (Columbia Records)

Literature Categories

Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction: “Stand Your Ground” – Victoria Christopher Murrary(Touchstone)

Outstanding Literary Work – Nonfiction: “Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga” – Pamela Newkirk (HarperCollins/Amistad)

Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author: “The Fishermen” – Chigozie Obioma (Little, Brown & Company)

Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/Autobiography: “Between The World and Me” – Ta-Nehisi Coates (Speigel & Grau)

Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional: “Soul Food Love:  Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family” – Alice Randall, Caroline Randall Williams (Clarkson Potter)

Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry: “How to Be Drawn” – Terrance Hayes (Penguin Books/ Penguin Random House)

Outstanding Literary Work – Children: “Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America” – Carole Boston Weatherford (Author), Jamey Christoph (Illustrator) (Albert Whitman & Company)

Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens: “X: A Novel” – Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekia Magoon(Candlewick Press)

Motion Picture Categories

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture: O’Shea Jackson, Jr. – “Straight Outta Compton” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Phylicia Rashad – “Creed” (Warner Bros. Pictures/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture: “Beasts of No Nation” (Netflix)

Documentary Categories 

Outstanding Documentary – (Film): “The Black Panthers:  Vanguard of the Revolution” (PBS Distribution/Firelight Films)

Outstanding Documentary – (Television): “Muhammad Ali:  The People’s Champ” (BET)

Writing Categories 

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: Kenya M. Barris – “black-ish” – The Word (ABC)

Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series: Mara Brack Ali, Jameal Turner, Keli Goff – “Being Mary Jane” – Sparrow (BET)

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Television): Lawrence Hill, Clement Virgo – “The Book of Negroes”(BET)

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Film): Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington – “Creed” (Warner Bros. Pictures/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)

Directing Categories 

Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series: Don Cheadle – “House of Lies” – The Urge to Save Humanity is Almost Always a False Front for the Urge to Rule (Showtime)

Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series: John Ridley – “American Crime” – Episode 1 (ABC)

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Television): Dee Rees – “Bessie” (HBO)

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Film): Ryan Coogler – “Creed” (Warner Bros. Pictures/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)

Animated or Computer Generated Image (CGI) Category 

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance (Television or Film)

Loretta Devine – “Doc McStuffins” (Disney Junior)

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