GG and I watched the NAACP Image Awards last Friday. The century-old organization’s premier event that celebrates “the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts…” I especially like watching with GG because it gives us the perfect opportunity to have a natural, unforced conversation about the wide spectrum of Black entertainers – outside of the Mr. Moseby character from Disney’s "Suite Life on Deck", who in my opinion, has a lot to be desired. But I’ll save that for another rant, another blog.
Anyway, the opening ensemble with Wyclef Jean, Carlos Santana and some other international performers fascinated GG, who noticed that the music sounded like it was Mexican or Jamaican. So we talked about how a long time ago, African people brought their music with them wherever they went (or were taken), and how that music’s had an influence on all sorts of genres since that time.
What I really appreciate about the Image Awards is when individuals who truly embody the ideal image take center stage. As we watched Myrlie Evers approach the podium I thought to myself “That’s what I want to be when I grow up.” And then the nominations for “Best Actress,” “Best Supporting Actress” and “Best Picture” were announced. “Precious” was represented in all categories.
Wait a minute...I thought these awards were about image.
First off, I’ll readily admit that I haven’t seen “Precious”. I personally don’t find the reality of child abuse, child neglect or poverty particularly entertaining, so there’s no reason for me to pay eight bucks and see it in a theater. The young woman who plays the title character seems to be delightful, funny and articulate – and she’s a grad student, for crying out loud! So why should an image that is the completely and total opposite of that even be nominated? The actress who plays the title character’s abusive mother, comes off as strong and smart in interviews, so again, why should the NAACP award her for an image so seemingly ugly and abusive? Well, they both won; and if I remember correctly, the movie won the Image Award for Best Picture too.
But I just have to stop and wonder -- especially on the heels of Black History Month -- were these images really worthy of an Image Award? With as many contributions as Black people have made throughout this country’s history, I just don’t think so.