The “55th NAACP Image Awards” is less than two months away, and as usual, it is expected to be a remarkable celebration of Black excellence. Some of the nominees this year include showstoppers Usher and Victoria Monét, who dominated the music recording categories earning five and six nominations, respectively. Actors like Danielle Brooks, Teyana Taylor, and Yara Shahidi are receiving nods this year in their respective categories.
In honor of the highly anticipated event, BET.com sat down with Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, and nominee Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, who made her film debut as Celie Harris-Johnson in the critically acclaimed 2023 remake of ‘The Color Purple.’
“Our goal is to amplify Black excellence, we’re expanding the week of activities, kicking it off with a golf tournament,” says Johnson. “We are proud to announce for the third straight year, a fashion show and we’re working towards doing something with hair and makeup,” he continues. The CEO considers the event “painting the town Black,” highlighting the industry.
For generations, the NAACP as an organization has been no stranger to painting the town Black and advocating for Black people. “We are an advocacy organization not a service provider and how people receive us and see us on screen is how we are treated in public policy and on the streets, and so for us to amplify positive images but the true images of who we are and the dynamic nature which we storytell is very important.” says Johnson.
According to Johnson, another way the NAACP keeps things fresh is by shining a light on Black creators on social media during the awards ceremony, and he believes it is important to appreciate it as the art form it truly is.
One nominee who is a prime example of Black excellence the organization amplifies is Mpasi, who found out she was nominated for Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture on live television.
“It’s such an honor, one of the mission statements we talked about a lot with making this film was showcasing the spectrum of Blackness, and I think our film does that and to be recognized by an organization that is upholding that spectrum and showcasing it in many different ways feels so wonderful,” says Mpasi.
Watch the 2024 NAACP Awards on March 16, 2024, at 8:00 PM ET/PT on BET and CBS.
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