Do the NAACP Image Awards Still Matter?

by Britni Danielle

Do the NAACP Image Awards still matter?

The nominees for the NAACP Image Awards were announced this week, and while some are pouring through the list of nominees to see who the venerable organization has recognized, others are wondering if the awards show if even necessary at all.

This year’s list of nominees includes a mix of veteran talent like Denzel Washington and Kerry Washington, and some that don’t seem quite worthy of a nod (ehem, Tyler Perry). The mishmash group has caused some to argue that the Image Awards needs a serious makeover.

Kia Miakka Natisse of theGrio writes:

The NAACP Image Awards nominees were announced a few days ago, and it appears the once prestigious show is continuing its streak of mediocrity.

The level of effort they’re giving to the award categories is simply baffling. Take for example the best actor category: You’ve got acclaimed thespians like Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, and Morgan Freeman against Tyler Perry, who elbowed his way into the category via the box office bomb Alex Cross. 

The outstanding talk series category includes two mediocre shows from Oprah’s OWN network and TJ Holmes’ much-maligned Don’t Sleep, but Melissa Harris Perry and Al Sharpton’s insightful political shows on MSNBC were snubbed.

The NAACP’s baffling recent history of awarding seems to be based upon who will actually show up to claim the statue.

One of the biggest mistakes the NAACP made was to completely overlook filmmaker Ava DuVernay.

While DuVernay has racked up awards from prestigious organizations like the Sundance and Gotham film festivals, the NAACP failed to recognize her film, Middle of Nowhere, in either the Outstanding Motion Picture or Outstanding Independent Motion Picture categories, instead tapping Perry’s lackluster film Good Deeds.

Melissa Silverstein of the film blog Indiewire rightly wondered, “what the f–k” was the NAACP thinking for overlooking DuVernay.

Silverstein writes:

How is it possible that this film could have received NO nominations except in the acting categories.  I am flabbergasted.  It’s not that it would be a stretch to nominate this film.  That a woman’s work is “not good enough” or whatever other crap committees use to justify ignoring women creatives.  This film and this writer/director has been generating accolades since the film premiered last January in Sundance when Ava became the first African American woman to win best director.  The film has garnered other year end accolades including nominations from the Gotham Awards and the Independent Spirit Awards.

According to Silverstein, the politics of respectability could be at the heart of the decision to overlook DuVernay’s film. She wonders if the NAACP failed to nominate DuVernay “because she made a movie about a woman whose husband is in prison and the prison industrial complex figures so heavily in the story,” or “because the film is about the reality of a woman’s life and not enough of a “positive image.”

Whatever the reason, I fail to see how Perry’s past Madea films could be worthy of a nod, but DuVernay’s award-winning film was not.

Missteps like these only further the notion that the organization, and its award show, is dreadfully out of touch.

  • Val

    When the NAACP gave an award to the pedophile known as RKelly I was done caring about the NAACP Awards.

  • Tonton Michel

    The problem with the NAACP has been the same problem they have been fighting for over 20 years, blood. Specifically the lack of new blood in the organization.

  • Ken Whittingham

    The NAACP image awards have been a joke for a while now and so is Tyler Perry. Not in the good way.

  • THe Comment

    last time I watched it, they gave a long long long overdue award to black stuntmen/women. It was a tear jerker for sure. Soooo…maybe change the format to recognize all those who were never recognized or only mentioned in Jet/Ebony magazine back in the 70s but now are seldom heard of. I’d like that.

    Turn it into a black history award show. si?/no?

  • whatever


    That was a great tribute.

  • whatever

    While I tend to agree that the NAACP image awards can be corny… and the NAACP in general is out of touch, I don’t see the point in doing away with one of the only positive award shows just because 1 film was overlooked.

  • rando

    There will always be a dispute over what/whom should be nominated at every awards show.

  • LemonNLime

    “Do the NAACP Awards still matter?”

    I have a better question for you. Does the NAACP still matter? My answer to both is NO.

  • AM

    It should matter, but it doesn’t. Oh well. Have a lovely weekend ma pippoz!

  • The Artist

    Definitely switch up the categories. The same people are recognized every year. I guess they figure people will watch, if Tyler Perry is up for an award…

  • Joy

    Ken: Tyler is not a joke. I’m not saying that everyone has to enjoy All of his movies. But what I am saying is that to call a SUCCESSFUL business-person like Tyler a joke is ridiculous. We need to practice lifting each other up, instead of tearing each other down. Again….please don’t mis-enterpret my comments as everyone having to enjoy his movies. But business success stories should be given credit where credit is due.

  • Jace

    When the nominees do not even bother to show up, why should anyone else care? They pretty much answer the question with a solid, “No.”

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