The NAACP announced in a press release on Monday that George Lucas will receive the prestigious Vanguard Award at this year's Image Awards. Previous honorees include Wyclef Jean, Tyler Perry, Russell Simmons, Aretha Franklin, Prince, Stanley Kramer and Steven Spielberg.
Though the Star Wars director, who invested his own money to make Red Tails, is by any definition a vanguard, the NAACP's decision to honor him for his "groundbreaking work" in increasing the "understanding and awareness of racial and social issues" has predictably been met with a lot of controversy.
Commenters on IndieWire's Black film blog Shadow and Act are divided between those who support the recognition, and those vocally against it. As one put it, "Lucas did something [Black filmmakers] should have done years ago," while negative reactions are, ahem, more colorfully articulated.
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