PASADENA, Calif. (AP) – Lizzo was named entertainer of the year and â€œJust Mercyâ€ won best motion picture, best actor and best supporting actor Saturday at the NAACP Image Awards, as the show that recognizes entertainers of color ladled honors on the film that was snubbed by bigger shows throughout awards season.
“We are such a beautiful people, this is just a reminder of all the beautiful things that we can do,” said Lizzo as she accepted the night’s last and biggest award, leaping and dancing off the stage at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium as the show ended.
Host Anthony Anderson of â€œblack-ishâ€ opened the show, telecast on BET for the first time, with a monologue that took a shot at the lack of diversity at the Oscars and Hollywood’s other ceremonies that handed out awards earlier in the year.
â€œUnlike other awards shows, we actually have black nominees,” Anderson said. He may well have been talking about â€œJust Mercy,â€ the acclaimed film that was snubbed by the Oscars, Golden Globes and other ceremonies in the long awards season.
Michael B. Jordan won best actor in a motion picture for his role as a crusading defense attorney in the film, and Jamie Foxx won best supporting actor for the wrongly convicted man he fought for.
â€œThis project is a lot bigger than me. Itâ€™s about every person thatâ€™s wrongfully convicted and sitting in a jail cell right now,” Jordan said as he accepted the award.
Foxx won his fifth career image award for his role in â€œJust Mercy,” saying, â€œThank you so much, black people, African-Americans, and everything else we are.â€
He added, “Its always great to get it from black folks because we are so talented.”
Lupita Nyong’o won best actress in a film for her role in â€œUs,â€ and 15-year Marsai Martin won best supporting actress for her role in â€œLittleâ€ over superstar names including Jennifer Lopez, Janelle MonÃ¡e and Octavia Spencer.
Martin’s award went with three more she won Friday for her roles in â€œLittleâ€ and “black-ishâ€ during the non-televised first night of the Image Awards.
â€œThank you to all the beautiful black girls out there who inspire me every day,” Martin said as she accepted the supporting actress award.
Martin’s â€œblack-ishâ€ cast mate Tracee Ellis Ross won best actress in a TV comedy series, her ninth career Image Award.
â€œI love being a part of this ever-growing chorus of black women owning our legacies,â€ Ross said as she accepted the award.
It was a big Image Awards all-round for â€œblack-ish,” which took home seven, including best TV comedy and best actor in a TV comedy for host Anderson.
The NAACP gave its Chairmanâ€™s Award, which goes to people who show exemplary public service and â€œcreate agents of change,â€ to civil rights legend U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.
â€œThe NAACP has been like a bridge over troubled waters,â€ Lewis, who is suffering from pancreatic cancer, said in a recorded acceptance speech from Washington. â€œWeâ€™re going to have some more troubled waters, and weâ€™re going to need the NAACP.â€
Rihanna received the NAACP Presidentâ€™s Award for special achievement and distinguished public service. She called for racial, religious and cultural unity during her acceptance speech.
â€œIf thereâ€™s anything that Iâ€™ve learned, itâ€™s that we can only fix this world together,â€ Rihanna said. â€œWe canâ€™t do it divided. Tell your friends to pull up.â€
She added, â€œWeâ€™ve been denied opportunities since the beginning of time, and still we prevail … Imagine what we can do if we do it together.â€
BeyoncÃ© was the big winner at Friday night’s non-televised gala, winning six awards, including outstanding female artist and album. She also won outstanding duo/group for her collaboration with her 8-year-old daughter Blue Ivy, and Saint Jhn.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton.