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NAACP Image Awards - Quinta Brunson, Benjamin Crump and Angela Bassett Pick Up Early Awards

NAACP Image Awards - Quinta Brunson, Benjamin Crump and Angela Bassett Pick Up Early Awards

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The NAACP Image Awards are an annual celebration of Black achievement in music, film, TV, literature and the arts. Hosted by Queen Latifah on Saturday night, this 54th edition took place.

Early awards recognized Angela Bassett as Entertainer of the Year for her roles in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and 9-1-1. Quinta Brunson was named Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for Abbott Elementary, while Ben Crump took home the Social Justice Impact Award.

Angela Bassett wins Entertainer of the Year

Last week, the NAACP Image Awards released their list of nominees, with Marvel's "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" leading the film side with 12 nods and ABC's "Abbott Elementary School" dominating on television with nine. The award ceremony will air Saturday night on BET.

The NAACP Image Awards are an annual celebration of the arts, entertainment and culture that have shaped the lives of people of color. Hosted by The NAACP Foundation in Los Angeles each year, the awards show honors individuals, groups and organizations who have made a positive impact on society. As one of the premier nights in entertainment, it has become one of the most anticipated nights for fans worldwide.

As always, this year's show boasts an impressive roster of presenters. Cliff "Method Man" Smith, Taye Diggs, Issa Rae, Kerry Washington and Sheryl Lee Ralph are just a few names joining Queen Latifah for what promises to be an unforgettable evening. Queen Latifah will host the ceremony and many other well-known figures will join her on stage for their best performances.

Angela Bassett's role as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever earned her the nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture and also earned her the Screen Actors Guild Award. This actress has an illustrious acting career that spans over 100 films and television shows.

She's an Emmy-winning director, having created over 30 projects. Her filmography includes several Oscar-nominated movies.

In her latest feature film "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," she stars as the Black superhero who was born to be King of the Panther nation. The movie has become a critical hit not only among members of the Black community but also an expansive global audience.

It has also contributed to the emergence of several iconic black politicians, such as House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Furthermore, Black Lives Matter inspired a movement among African-Americans and led to the founding of several Black-owned businesses.

On the TV side, ABC's "Abbott Elementary School" garnered an impressive nine nominations while Starz's "P Valley" and OWN's "Queen Sugar" each garnered six nods. Furthermore, Pixar animated classic Hamilton which debuted on Disney+ this past February also earned recognition.

Quinta Brunson wins Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for Abbott Elementary

At the NAACP Image Awards, Quinta Brunson made a dramatic entrance wearing an elegant mirrored gown featuring layers of train and slit at the thigh. To complete her ensemble, she added mirror platform sandals and large gold statement earrings for an effortlessly chic finish suitable for any special event.

She left the ceremony with her first award - Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on Abbott Elementary. It's an impressive milestone for the show, which has experienced incredible growth since its December premiere. The West Philadelphia-based series became the first ABC comedy to quadruple its ratings after its premiere and was renewed for another season this year.

Brunson never expected her workplace comedy would become so popular, but the show has certainly struck a chord with viewers. Recently, Brunson signed an exclusive multi-year deal with Warner Bros. Television Group and is developing new projects across all of their platforms.

Her latest series, which boasts a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and can be watched on Prime Video, Apple TV, Hulu and HBO Max, stars Janine Teagues (Brunson) and Barbara Johnson (Tyler James Williams), two teachers at an underfunded public school in West Philadelphia. Janine finds herself at odds with her own mother while Barbara must navigate the difficult dynamic between her parents.

Brunson's show faces a major challenge: keeping its audience interested. She has an approach for that: she will take her characters on deeper journeys and encourage them to develop into unique individuals outside the classroom.

Meanwhile, Janine plans to incorporate more humor and a deeper story line. She wants her to be a mentor for both students and teachers alike, not just someone who requests favors constantly.

Brunson was honored to receive her first award in a category like this for Abbott Elementary, the show she created based on her experiences as an educator in West Philadelphia. With its authentic setting and strong ratings, it's no wonder why the show has become such a local favorite; one reason it was recently nominated for a Golden Globe as well.

Benjamin Crump wins Social Justice Impact Award

Attorney Benjamin Crump earned the Social Justice Impact Award for his representation of families affected by police violence, such as Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and George Floyd. Additionally, in his award acceptance speech he advocated for teaching Black American history in public schools to honor Black Americans' contributions to society.

Ben Crump, listed among TIME100 and Ebony Magazine's Power 100 Most Influential African Americans as "Black America's Attorney General," has been referred to as "Black America's Attorney General". As the founder and principal owner of Ben Crump Law, his practice specializes in civil rights, racial justice and personal injury matters. He has litigated landmark cases that have changed America's social landscape such as representing families such as Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd; those affected by Flint River water pollution; and Henrietta Lacks' family in a landmark reparations case.

He is an active participant in the NAACP and has held leadership roles on numerous boards, commissions, and committees. Furthermore, he has received both the SCLC Martin Luther King Servant Leader Award and Alpha Kappa Alpha Eleanor Roosevelt Medallion for Service in recognition of his service to society.

Crump has extensive legal experience, having assisted families of victims of police violence in securing verdicts and settlements for their injuries. He represented Duane Washington's family, who tragically perished in a truck accident, to receive $411 million in compensation; as well as many other Black families that have endured racial injustice.

Crump has been recognized for his service to the community with multiple awards, including the NAACP Thurgood Marshall Award, SCLC Martin Luther King Servant Leader award and American Association for Justice Johnnie Cochran Award. Additionally he serves as president of the National Civil Rights Trial Lawyers Association and was the first African-American chair of Florida State University School of Law Board of Directors.

In October 2019, Crump released Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, a book that examines his landmark cases and how discrimination in the courthouse causes real families and communities to suffer. His message is that we must stand together to fight for racial justice and safeguard America's legacy.

Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” wins Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture

Angela Bassett continued her winning streak this week, taking home both a fourth NAACP Image Award and Golden Globe for her role as Queen Ramonda in Marvel's "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." Her performance has earned her several nominations including Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Best Supporting Actress, and Outstanding Screenplay.

The film has also been nominated for both PGA Awards and SAG Awards. Furthermore, it received 12 NAACP Image Award nominations across various categories recognizing people of color within various industries such as film, music, streaming services, and digital media.

Letitia Wright excelled as Shuri in this sequel, giving an intense and detailed performance that captured all the emotions people experience after losing someone close to them. Additionally, she used this opportunity to highlight mental health issues positively as her character deals with guilt and depression throughout the movie.

Despite her emotional turmoil, Wright manages to deliver one of the most poignant scenes in the movie when she saves T'challa (Janet Leigh) from deadly Wakandan warriors. This task is no small feat and she does it with incredible passion.

Ryan Coogler was honored for directing this sequel despite tragically losing his husband and close friend Chadwick Boseman. At a time when there is still much talk about racism and its detrimental effects on Black people, Coogler created an expansive world that stands for something much greater than just superheroes.

He introduced Talokan, an underwater kingdom, and made Namor (Tenoch Huerta), its ruler, an understandable antagonist who seeks to protect his people from colonization that kept them oppressed. It's an excellent way of introducing this underdeveloped yet potentially superpowerful underwater realm to viewers, with Huerta in stunning form as Namor.

Coogler has the unique ability to make Namor seem like a villain in the eyes of his audience, even though his actions are justified. He accomplishes this feat by showing how his decisions have adversely affected those closest to him - especially those of color - while emphasizing how such decisions would never have taken place without colonization's wrongdoings.

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