The honors continued at the 54th Annual NAACP Image Awards despite an emergency flash flood warning and a torrential downpour effectively stopping the red carpet.
Attendees made the trip through the pouring rain to make the show, carefully treading through the rain-soaked pink carpet to find their seats at the L.A. Live Event Deck in Los Angeles, Calif. where they were treated to performances from gospel artist Tye Tribett and Too $hort as well as appearances from celebrities like Tichina Arnold, Katori Hall and the cast of Amazon Prime Video’s “Harlem,” as well as an impromptu wedding proposal.
After Major gave the convocation, Tribett opened the show with his lively rendition of “Get Up,” which quickly pushed guests out of their seats and onto their feet to dance. The dinner’s host Bresha Webb announced her recent nuptials in her welcoming address and proceeded to poke fun at Ariana DeBose with her own version of the Oscar winner’s now-viral BAFTA rap when honoring the night’s nominees.
Winners like Ryan Coogler and Gina Prince-Bythewood set the tone for the night as they took home hardware for outstanding writing and directing, respectively. Coogler’s prize – shared with co-writer Joe Robert Cole — came for their script for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” while the “Love and Basketball” director accepted an award for helming “The Woman King.” The crowd delivered a standing ovation for Prince-Bythewood as she walked to accept her award.
Niecy Nash-Betts won the award for best actress in a TV movie, limited series or dramatic special for her turn in Ryan Murphy’s “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” which she dedicated to Glenda Cleveland, the woman she portrayed in the series based on the true story.
“She was unseen, that if we had listened if the people who were supposed to listen who were in power hadn’t listened to her, so many lives would have been saved,” said Nash-Betts.
She continued, “I am so grateful to be honored by people who look like me. I am so grateful that you didn’t give up on me that you’re still rooting for me. And that this award is a testament to the fact that my talent has nothing to do with where I lay my head.”
Derrick Lee Foward, who accepted the activist of the year honor, surprised the audience when he closed his speech by proposing to his current partner on the stage surrounded by his mother and several other family members. (Of course, she happily accepted.) According to Foward’s bio, the Dayton, Ohio NAACP leader’s wife of 30 years died years ago. The couple shared two children, as well as three grandchildren.
Angela Bassett, who has made history this awards season as the first actor to earn an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe win for a Marvel movie, also stepped onto the stage to accept the award for supporting actress in a motion picture. She is also up for entertainer of the year during Saturday night’s broadcast.
Additional highlights included a near-sweep by “Abbott Elementary” in the TV comedy categories, snagging wins for actress (Quinta Brunson), supporting actor (Tyler James Williams) and supporting actress (Janelle James). Markup CEO Nabiha Syed was honored with the NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award.
The night was punctuated by a brief performance from rapper Too $hort, who was originally promised to perform a hip-hop tribute, but instead gave a short show with his song “Blow the Whistle” before he left the stage.
As night five of the NAACP’s week of awards presentations came to a close, it’s obvious certain hitches in the production’s plans were bigger obstacles than previously considered. However, the rain became a minor character (even with its rampant drumming on the tent) to the overall experience as attendees jumped with excitement to see their favorite stars accept awards throughout the night.
The Image Awards grand finale is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Feb. 25, hosted by Queen Latifah and broadcast live on BET at 8:00 PM (live ET/PT on delay) from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif.
The full list of winners from the non-televised awards dinner are:
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series
Cedric The Entertainer – “The Neighborhood”
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series
Quinta Brunson – “Abbott Elementary”
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Tyler James Williams – “Abbott Elementary”
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Janelle James – “Abbott Elementary”
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Cliff “Method Man” Smith – “Power Book II: Ghost”
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Loretta Devine – “P-Valley”
Outstanding Drama Series
Outstanding Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special
“The Best Man: The Final Chapters”
Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special
Morris Chestnut – “The Best Man: The Final Chapters”
Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special
Niecy Nash-Betts – “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”
Outstanding Talk Series
Outstanding New Artist
Coco Jones – “ICU”
Outstanding Jazz Album – Vocal
“Legacy” – Adam Blackstone
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Tenoch Huerta – “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Angela Bassett – “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
Outstanding Independent Motion Picture
Outstanding International Motion Picture
Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture
Jalyn Hall – “TILL”
Outstanding Animated Motion Picture
“Wendell & Wild”
Outstanding Documentary (Film)
Outstanding Documentary (Television)
“Everything’s Gonna be All White”
Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture
Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole – “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture
Gina Prince-Bythewood – “The Woman King”
Outstanding Arts and Entertainment Podcast
“Two Funny Mamas”
Outstanding Social Media Personality