Angela Bassett was honoured with the Entertainer of the Year accolade at the NAACP Image Awards on Saturday (25.02.23).
The 64-year-old star saw off competition from Mary J. Blige, Zendaya, Quinta Brunson and Viola Davis to scoop the coveted award, and she also went home with the awards for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for her work on ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ – which was named Outstanding Motion Picture – and Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for ‘9-1-1’.
Accepting the Entertainer of the Year award, Angela referenced Ariana DeBose’s viral rap from last weekend’s BAFTAs.
She quipped: “I guess Angela Bassett did the thing.”
After paying tribute to her “sisters” in the category, Angela – who received her supporting actress honour in one of the non-televised parts of the ceremony – reflected on her long career and the directors she had worked with, including ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Ryan Coogler, who she said had “showed us that we are royalty and he built the crown for us all to wear.”
She added: “I am deeply grateful. Gratitude is the universe’s way of saying that we are not existing in this world alone; we have each other.”
Ryan himself took to the stage when ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ was named Outstanding Motion Picture, adding to the seven other awards it has won at the Image Awards over the course of the six-day calendar of presentation events and took the time to honour the late Chadwick Boseman.
He said: “We gained an ancestor. He’s with us every day, motivating us, and I can’t think of anyone who done more to advance our image.. I am honoured to represent him.”
‘Abbott Elementary’ won Best Comedy series, making its sixth award over the course of the week, with Quinta Brunson – the winner of Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Television) – joined on stage to accept the accolade by her co-stars including the Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series winners Tyler James Williams and Janelle James.
She said: “We are a brand-new show. Watching all of the other shows [in our category] that paved the way for us, shows that helped push us through the door at ABC like ‘Black-ish’ … we are so grateful.
“We’re happy that we get to make this show that is accessible to everyone but for and by us.”
Will Smith wasn’t in attendance to pick up his Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture honour for ‘Emancipation’, while Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture went to ‘The Woman King’ star Viola Davis, who hailed the film her “magnum opus” and “nothing but high-octane bravery” as she celebrated those who had worked on the film.
NAACP Image Awards list of winners from the televised ceremony:
Entertainer of the Year:
Outstanding Motion Picture:
‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’
Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture:
Will Smith – ‘Emancipation’
Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture:
Viola Davis – ‘The Woman King’
Outstanding Comedy Series:
Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series:
Nicco Annan – ‘P-Valley’
Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
Angela Bassett – ‘9-1-1’