2023 NAACP Image Awards: Angela Bassett Wins Entertainer Of The Year

Walmart celebrates the ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ actress’ big night.

The NAACP Image Awards is an opportunity to celebrate Black joy and excellence within the intersection of the creative arts and social justice. Academy Award and Emmy nominee Angela Bassett was honored as the Entertainer of the Year, which capped off an amazing evening. Bassett also took home the NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and for Best Actress in a television drama for her role in the Fox series "9-1-1."

Though the word icon is often overused, in the case of Bassett, it fits perfectly. She has been nominated for more than 100 hundred industry awards and accolades, including nearly 40 NAACP Image Awards—scoring 17, according to Deadline.

During her acceptance speech, Bassett mentioned getting her start in Hollywood in the 1980s in episodic television with minor roles on "The Cosby Show" and "227." It wasn’t until the critically acclaimed, hit 1993 movie "What's Love Got to Do with It," where she made her presence known and her name became a household mention. Her authentic and heartfelt portrayal of Tina Turner manifested in a Golden Globe Award and her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

This year, Bassett is once again nominated for an Academy Award for playing Queen Ramonda. The nomination is already a historic achievement. If she wins, Bassett will become the first actor from any Marvel movie to win an Oscar.

After receiving news about her nomination, Bassett said in a statement, “Wakanda Forever’s Queen Ramonda is a character that touched my spirit because she is a mother and a leader who must care for her grieving nation as much as she cares for her family in mourning.”

Bassett had already portrayed a number of other amazingly strong Black women including trailblazers like Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, and she even provided the voice of Michelle Obama in an episode of "The Simpsons." Like Bassett, these women are examples of how hard work and a commitment to community matched with brilliance and tenacity can reap incredible rewards.

Angela Bassett

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After claiming the honor of Entertainer of the Year and thanking the NAACP and those who voted for her, the "Waiting to Exhale" star also took the time to "acknowledge all the beautiful and talented women" who were nominated alongside her in the category. She stated, "I admire you, and I am in awe of the women that you are." While her fellow nominees Mary J. Blige, Quinta Brunson, Viola Davis, and Zendaya didn't win this particular award, Bassett’s acknowledgment was a reminder of how Black women can indeed be champions for one another.

Bassett also used her time on stage to give thanks to the directors who helped her achieve these milestones citing the late John Singleton as well as Spike Lee. Four-time NAACP Award winner Ryan Coogler, who directed Bassett in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” sat in front of her and received her words as she thanked him for being the one "who showed us that we are royalty."

The actress rounded out her speech to the sound of thunderous applause saying, "Gratitude is the universe's way of saying we are not existing in this world alone. We have each other."

Also, looking on proudly from the audience was Bassett’s husband, Courtney B. Vance. According to People,  the two met during the1980s at Yale School of Drama. They re-connected in 1994, and after three years of dating, the couple were married in 1997. They welcomed fraternal twins Slater Josiah and Bronwyn Golden in 2006.

While the 54th annual NAACP Image Awards is a great time to celebrate some of the contributions of Black Americans, Black History isn't just about revisiting the past; Black History is about inspiring and enabling the future.

Join Walmart and BET in celebrating Black history makers and Black excellence, today and every day. Visit to discover Black brands, creators, and more.

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