If you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing Anthony Anderson on stage, the big screen or television, then you know why he is hosting the NAACP Image Awards for the eighth year in a row: He’s not just funny, he is hella funny, quick on his feet and keeps it one hundred at all times. All of these qualities and more make him a great emcee.
Not only that, he is an Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actor and currently the star and Executive Producer of ABC’s multi-award winning sitcom, Black-ish, where he plays TV dad, Dre Johnson. He also holds the record for the most honors in the NAACP Image Award category of Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series with six wins.
The 50-year-old married father of two has a lot to be proud of including going straight from Howard University to multi-platinum dollar movies and Emmy Award-winning TV shows and being able to transfer seamlessly between dramas and comedies.
Here are five reasons he’s the host always doing the most and why we love it:
First and foremost, the popular TV dad is funny because he is a good actor. Born in L.A., the ambitious funny-man worked his way into Hollywood, getting roles in films such as Departed, Transformers and Big Momma's House.
He's played in FX's dramatic series The Shield and spent two years as Detective Kevin Bernard on the popular NBC drama, Law and Order. The NAACP Image Award winner even had his own show on WB, which was a loose re-enactment of his life called All About the Andersons, and recently played a Kenyan orphan in the comedy based web series Matumbo Goldberg.
According to Biography, his mother, Dora Anderson, was a movie extra, so he grew up on film sets. By the age of five,he started appearing in television commercials. He also attended a Los Angeles performing arts high school, where he won an award given by the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO), a program sponsored by the NAACP. The annual award recognizes students in grades nine through twelve "who exemplify scholastic and cultural excellence."
In 2020, he hosted the NAACP Image Awards celebration of Black excellence and achievement at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium amid grumblings of a global pandemic and the ceremony went off without a hitch.
Anderson "opened the ceremony on a light note, running through a litany of off-the-cuff jokes, one of which included gently poking fun at Chaka Khan’s much-discussed rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at 2020 NBA All-Star Game,” according to Billboard. He was also the first person to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the midst of a global pandemic, Variety confirms.
According to Yahoo News, Anderson and his mom recently partnered with Northwestern Mutual to spread the word about the importance of financial planning. This comes off of the heels of him co-hosting BET's "SAVING OUR SELVES: A BET COVID-19 RELIEF EFFORT” last April. The telethon was to support and amplify relief efforts in various Black communities focusing on families in need of food assistance and emergency support.
He tells the news outlet that financial planning was never a topic of conversation around the house growing up, and he did this as a way to help the Black community avoid the pitfall of a lack of planning.
“Growing up in Compton, we didn’t have conversations around the dinner table about financial literacy and financial planning because my parents and family were living paycheck to paycheck," Anderson explains to Yahoo Finance. "Fortunately, over time, close to 20 years ago, I was able to speak with my first financial adviser and put a plan into place.”
Simply put, he loves his people. In an interview with Gayle King on CBS This Morning on Friday (March 26), a day before the celebration, he explained why he has hosted the show for eight consecutive years, and why it means so much to him.
“I’m a product of the NAACP program for its youth, I grew up in the organization. It’s a show that celebrates us within our community when we are not always celebrated. I was blessed to host eight years ago, I had a great time and I claimed it as my show. Hopefully, I will be there for a little while longer.”
He underwent a dramatic lifestyle change after he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2001. Before that, he struggled to get his blood sugar under control, he said in a press release about a partnership with “Get Real About Diabetes” in 2017. But he was able to do so with the help and support of his family and doctors, an appropriate treatment regimen and commitment to a healthy lifestyle, all of which he isn't afraid to discuss while he's on stage whether he's hosting or presenting at an award show for BET, Nickelodeon, the Golden Globes.
Anderson even tackled the issue in a Black-ish episode, “Sugar Daddy,” on December 12, 2017 when his character also copes with a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.“When my father passed away from diabetes complications, I reflected on what it was doing to me, and realized I had to change,” he said in the release. “I got real with myself and talked to my doctor. I changed what I ate, put my body in motion and was prescribed an injectable medication that was right for me. Now, I'm the one in control."
Watch the 52nd Annual NAACP awards on BET on Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 8/7C
(Ron Batzdorff via Getty Images)