The 2020 NAACP Image Award nominations were announced on Thursday morning and, while it was no surprise to see Beyoncé nominated for eight awards, it’s the recognition for her daughter Blue Ivy that has people talking.
The mother-daughter duo was nominated for Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration for the song “Brown Skin Girl” from “The Lion King: The Gift,” with SAINt JH and WizKid.
In November, the 8-year-old won her first award for her work on the track, earning the Ashford & Simpson Songwriter’s honor at the 2019 BET Soul Train Awards.
“You know what they say, ‘We walked, so others can run.’ And so good for her,” NAACP Vice Chairman Karen Boykin-Towns said in response to the youngster’s nomination.
“I think that just shows how important love is …. between a mother and a daughter. That’s what that song kind of represents for me,” “grown-ish” star Trevor Jackson told Variety after announcing the nominees. “I feel like that’s why she put her on the song. And it shows other eight year old girls that they can, they can do it too.”
“She’s a sweet little girl and I can’t wait to see what she evolves into, probably just like her mama,” Grammy-winner Erica Campbell added.
And since Blue Ivy has been an internet star in the cutaway shots at the award shows she’s attended with her parents, like the VMAs and the Grammys, fans could be in for a big TV moment if she attends the ceremony on Feb. 22.
Jackson and Campbell were just a couple of the stars tapped to reveal the 51st annual Image Award nominees on Thursday morning. “black-ish” and “Little” star Marsai Martin, recording artist Major, “How to Get Away with Murder” actor Rome Flynn and “The Neighborhood’s” Tichina Arnold also assembled for the announcement. In addition to two earning Image award nominations herself, Arnold was also surprised by being named a life member of the NAACP, underscoring the cultural importance of the award show.
“It means that my hard work has paid off,” Arnold said of the honor. “It means that my due diligence and my tenacity [have paid off]… It’s truly a blessing.”
For Arnold, these awards hold special significance because they marked her “first feeling of being honored and being recognized” as an actor when other awards have passed her by.
“It’s incredible to be recognized by your people. You know, the people that understand the plight, they understand the struggle, they understand the difficulty to break in and break through, ” Major — who also earned two nominations — said.
During an award season that has already seen uproar over the all-white acting nominees at the BAFTA awards and criticism of the exclusion of female filmmakers at the Golden Globes, the Image Awards aims to shine a positive spotlight on diversity in the entertainment industry.
“[With the awards] the NAACP is making sure that images that are positive of our communities are projected. How people see us on a big screen and oftentimes how they treat us in the street,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson explained. “So, part of our advocacy is to make sure we project a positive, diverse picture of who we are as a community.”
“I think that at the end of the day, we must — regardless of what’s happening outside society — recognize and lift up our own,” Boykin-Towns added. “But, also, it’s about sort of reminding people about how we may be excluded from these other shows. And enough is enough, quite frankly. And the talent is there and we will continue to hold up support and celebrate our own.”
And overall, Arnold is keeping the awards race in perspective.
“You don’t need all that other stuff. We’ve got this, and this is enough for me,” she said. “You know, if I never get an Oscar, it’s okay. If I never get a Spirit Award, it’s okay. But I’m happy that there is a platform for people of color to be able to recognize each other, lift each other up, and continue the legacy.”
(L-R) Rome Flynn, Major, Tichina Arnold, Erica Campbell, Marsai Martin and Trevor Jackson
NAACP Image Awards press conference, Los Angeles, USA – 09 Jan 2020