Yes, We Celebrated a Whole Week of 2021 NAACP Image Award Winners and There's Still a Ceremony This Weekend

52nd NAACP Image Awards logo
52nd NAACP Image Awards logo
Graphic: Courtesy of NAACP

Y’all already know Black folks don’t half-ass our celebrations. So, it should come as no surprise that the NAACP dedicated an entire week of awarding Black excellence with a daily “virtual experience” for its block of non-televised award winners.

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Let’s break down what already happened and what’s to come!

Y’all Won (Already)

The non-televised award winners spanned across several categories and I’ll shout-out some of the top winners even though I celebrate all of y’all! In the Literary section: Barack Obama’s A Promised Land won Outstanding Literary Work - Nonfiction while Walter Mosley’s The Awkward Black Man won Outstanding Literary Work - Fiction.

In the film sector, Outstanding Documentary (Film) went to John Lewis: Good Trouble and Outstanding Documentary (Television - Series or Special) was awarded to The Last Dance. Outstanding Directing in a Television Movie or Special went to Eugene Ashe for Sylvie’s Love and Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture went to Gina Prince-Bythewood for The Old Guard. Outstanding Short-Film (Live Action) went to Black Boy Joy and Outstanding Short-Film (Animated) went to Canvas.

In TV, Michaela Coel won Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for I May Destroy You, Episode 112 “Ego Death,” which I can’t help but smile extra-wide at since her snubbing from mainstream white platforms only reinforced why it’s important we celebrate ourselves as loudly as possible. Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series was awarded to Attica Locke for Little Fires Everywhere, Episode 104 “The Spider Web” and Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture went to Radha Blank for The Forty-Year-Old Version. Doc McStuffins won Outstanding Animated Series and Soul won Outstanding Animated Motion Picture. Insecure was named Outstanding Comedy Series and Power Book II: Ghost was named Outstanding Drama Series.

Across acting categories, the late Chadwick Boseman is continuing his posthumous awards sweep, winning Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his performance in Da 5 Bloods. Phylicia Rashad won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. Black-ish pretty much swept the TV comedy acting categories: Anthony Anderson (who is also hosting this year’s ceremony) won Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series; Deon Cole won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and Marsai Martin won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. We’ll find out who takes Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series on Saturday, during the televised ceremony.

As expected, Red Table Talk won Outstanding Talk Series and Verzuz won Outstanding Variety Show (Series or Special).

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As for music, Doja Cat was named Outstanding New Artist (“Say So”), Drake was named Outstanding Male Artist (“Laugh Now, Cry Later”), Beyoncé was named Outstanding Female Artist (“Black Parade”) and Chloe x Halle were named Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration (Traditional) (“Wonder What She Thinks Of Me”). Jhené Aiko took the Outstanding Album trophy for Chilombo.

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Hella Highlights For Saturday’s Televised Ceremony

Here’s a reminder that Eddie Murphy will be inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame, which will be presented by his co-star Arsenio Hall. Perfect timing, as it’s happening fresh off of Coming 2 America’s recent debut.

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LeBron James will be awarded this year’s President’s Award, which is “presented in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service, with previous recipients including Rihanna, Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, Jesse Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Soledad O’Brien, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Muhammad Ali, among others,” per the official press release sent to The Root.

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Maxwell will celebrate the 25th anniversary of his debut album Urban Hang Suite with a performance. That’s right, it’s been 25 years—as his past Twitter self would say, “check the numbers, bitch.”

Jazmine Sullivan, who made waves with her most recent album Heaux Tales, will be performing during the ceremony, as well.

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Plus, there are still some categories to award so we’ll keep y’all posted on that during our upcoming recap of the televised ceremony. As the NAACP says in their promo, “Tell ‘Ya Friends to Pull Up!”, a perfect homage to Rihanna’s impactful speech last year.

So, get your virtual outfits ready (show up and show out!) and join us for the Black-ass fun this weekend!

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The 52nd NAACP Image Awards, hosted by Anthony Anderson, will air live on Saturday, March 27 at 8 p.m. ET on BET. The two-hour ceremony will also simulcast across ViacomCBS, including CBS, BET Her, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV, MTV2, Paramount, Pop, Smithsonian, TV Land, VH1, BET Pluto and CMT. You can view all winners and nominees at naacpimageawards.net (which will update as winners are publicly announced).

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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