NAACP Image Awards: ‘The Color Purple’ Wins Outstanding Motion Picture; Usher Named Entertainer of the Year

THE COLOR PURPLE, from left: Taraji P. Henson, Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks, 2023. © Warner Bros. /Courtesy Everett Collection
©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

“The Color Purple” dominated at the 55th NAACP Image Awards on Saturday night, taking home four accolades including outstanding motion picture.

Colman Domingo received Image Awards for both outstanding actor and outstanding supporting actor in a motion picture for his performances in “Rustin” and “The Color Purple,” respectively. Meanwhile, Fantasia Barrino won outstanding actress in a motion picture for her performance as Celie in “The Color Purple,” and Taraji P. Henson scored the outstanding supporting actress prize for her role as Shug Avery in the movie musical. Barrino accepted her award with great emotion and appreciation, taking the opportunity to express her faith as she sang “To God be the Glory” on stage.

Additionally, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi had already won outstanding breakthrough performance in a motion picture for her portrayal of Young Celie at one of the pre-show ceremonies. She spoke with Variety on Saturday’s red carpet about the significance of being honored by the NAACP.

“It just feels like a belonging and a welcoming,” she said. “I have often felt like I was othered or the only Black girl in a certain space, or one of few, so to be welcomed by this community — it feels like coming home, almost.”

Her cast mate Danielle Brooks, who plays Sofia in “The Color Purple,” detailed some of her favorite behind-the-scenes memories from set: “Playing spades together. Always the dance numbers that Fatima Robinson came up with. Staying up ’til three. Also, I always had my scooter with me and Fantasia riding on the back of my scooter…I’ll never forget that.”

Meanwhile in the television categories, Damson Idris took home the award for best actor in a drama series for his performance in FX’s “Snowfall,” which recently aired its final season. After his acceptance speech on stage, in which he mentioned his mom flying 17 hours from Lagos to attend the ceremony, Idris told Variety in the press room that he was experiencing an emotional “whirlwind.”

“I’ve got my whole family in the building, friends in the building. Usher’s on the screen right now, this is really cool,” he said. “There’s just great energy in the building and to win this award, to be seen by our community, that’s the most important thing to me. So this has just been the perfect sendoff for ‘Snowfall.’ [It] went on six years and it can now stay in the culture forever and we all can be proud of it.”

Kenya Barris, who was a presenter at the event, also has a show coming to a close soon, with Season 6 of Freeform’s “Grownish” completing this spring. Speaking with Variety, Barris expressed his gratitude for the NAACP’s prolonged support of his projects, saying, “Awards season starts for me tonight because they have so honored all the things I’ve done in a way that no one else has.”

In addition to receiving the 2024 President’s Award, Usher was named entertainer of the year at the ceremony. Other honorees included writer, poet and activist Amanda Gorman, who accepted the prestigious Chairman’s Award during the broadcast, and Grammy-nominated R&B group New Edition, who was inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame.

The 55th NAACP Image Awards, hosted by Queen Latifah, took place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Below is the complete list of winners.

Entertainer of the Year


Outstanding Motion Picture

“The Color Purple”

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture

Fantasia Barrino – “The Color Purple”

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture

Colman Domingo – “Rustin”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Colman Domingo – “The Color Purple”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Taraji P. Henson – “The Color Purple”

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series

India Amarteifio – “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story”

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series

Damson Idris – “Snowfall”

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series

Quinta Brunson – “Abbott Elementary”

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series

Mike Epps – “The Upshaws”

NAACP Image Awards: Usher Named President’s Award Honoree; ‘The Color Purple’ Leads Winners in Pre-Show Ceremonies

Usher, who is nominated for five NAACP Image Awards, including entertainer of the year, will be guaranteed to go home with at least one prize after being named the 2024 President’s Award recipient.

The President’s Award is presented in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service. Usher joins 2023 honorees Gabrielle Union-Wade and Dwyane Wade, as well as Rihanna, LeBron James, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Muhammad Ali, Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, Lauryn Hill and Soledad O’Brien, among others, in being awarded the prize.

The eight-time Grammy-winning singer and songwriter will receive the prestigious award during the 55th NAACP Image Awards, which broadcast live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 16, hosted by Queen Latifah.

The NAACP previously announced plans to honor writer, poet and activist Amanda Gorman with the prestigious Chairman’s Award during the broadcast, while Grammy-nominated R&B group New Edition will be inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame.

On Friday, costume designer, designer and tastemaker June Ambrose received this year’s Vanguard Award in salute to her decades as a pioneer in the fashion industry. That award was be presented during the Image Awards fashion show, hosted by Brandee Evans. The event’s star winner was “The Color Purple,” which swept all three categories: Francine Jamison-Tanchuck for outstanding costume design; Lawrence Davis, Tym Wallace, Andrea Mona Bowen, Angela Renae Dyson and Jorge Benitez Villalobos for outstanding hairstyling; and Carol Rasheed, Saisha Beecham, Ngozi Olandu Young, Manny Davila, and Milene Melendez for outstanding make-up. The three trophies brought the film’s total haul to seven wins out of its leading 16 nominations.

Rounding out the lineup of special honorees is trailblazing R&B singer-songwriter Frankie Beverly, who accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award at the NAACP Image Awards dinner. In tribute, Lalah Hathaway, Kenyon Dixon, Kenny Lattimore and Luke James performed several of his hit songs, closing the show with “Before I Let Go.”

Sherri Shepherd hosted the gala event, held Thursday night at the Hollywood Palladium, which recognized talented individuals nominated in 20 categories. After winning the best adapted screenplay Oscar on Sunday, “American Fiction” filmmaker Cord Jefferson added to his trophy haul by picking up the Image Award for outstanding writing in a motion picture. Ava DuVernay won her third Image Award, collecting the best director prize for her latest film “Origin.”

“Abbott Elementary” picked up two awards, with William Stanford Davis named outstanding supporting actor in a comedy and the series landing a repeat win as outstanding comedy series. “The Color Purple’s” Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, who played Young Celie, awarded the outstanding breakthrough performance in a motion picture prize.

Other winners included Chloe Bailey (“Praise This”), Ayo Edebiri (“The Bear”), Keith Powers (“The Perfect Find”), “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” “Swarm,” “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”

Shepherd tearfully accepted the outstanding talk show host award for her show “Sherri,” telling the crowd, “It took me 23-plus years to get to the place. Sometimes you have to mature into the dream that you’ve been dreaming about.”

Dr. Joy Buolamwini, founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, was honored with the NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award, virtually presented by Prince William and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The gala featured in-person appearances from presenters including Aisha Hinds, Aja Naomi King, Coco Jones, Courtney B. Vance, Druski, Gail Bean, Jarrell Jerome, Jawn Murray, Justice Smith, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Kevin Fredericks (a.k.a. KevOnStage), Lisa Beasley (a.k.a. Corporate Erin), Luke James, Nicco Annan, Nicole Byer, Patina Miller, Shameik Moore and Wendell Pierce. Shanice and Kenny Lattimore also performed.

The full list of winners can be found below:

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture
Cord Jefferson – American Fiction

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture
Ava DuVernay – Origin

Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special
Chloe Bailey – Praise This

Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special
Keith Powers – The Perfect Find

Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special

Outstanding Talk Series
The Jennifer Hudson Show

Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble
Sherri Shepherd – Sherri

Outstanding Animated Motion Picture
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Gail Bean – Snowfall

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Adrian Holmes – Bel-Air

Outstanding Drama Series
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgeton Story

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Ayo Edebiri – The Bear

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
William Stanford Davis – Abbott Elementary

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture
Phylicia Pearl Mpasi – The Color Purple

Outstanding Comedy Series
Abbott Elementary

Outstanding Youth Performance (Motion Picture)
Mila Davis-Kent – Creed III

Outstanding Social Media Personality
Angel Laketa Moore

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Television Movie, Limited–Series or Dramatic Special
Phylicia Rashad – Heaven Down Here

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Television Movie, Limited–Series or Dramatic Special
Don Cheadle – Secret Invasion

Outstanding International Motion Picture

Kerry Washington, Jeffrey Wright, Sterling K. Brown and Ryan Michelle Bathé Set as Presenters, Andra Day to Perform

The Image Awards got an extra boost of star power on Thursday, when the A-list slate of presenters was unveiled, including Jeffrey Wright and Sterling K. Brown, fresh off their first Academy Award nominations.

The “American Fiction” team, which is up for seven Image Awards, will be well-represented on the evening, with Erika Alexander also among the lineup. “UnPrisoned” stars Kerry Washington and Delroy Lindo will also present at the ceremony, while Grammy winner and Academy Award nominee Andra Day will perform. The full lineup of presenters includes Deon Cole, Diarra Kilpatrick, Donnie Wahlberg, Idris Elba, Keke Palmer, Kenya Barris, Leslie Jones, Lil Rel Howery, Morris Chestnut, Sabrina Elba and Taraji P. Henson.

The night kicks off at 7 p.m. ET with a live red carpet show hosted by Terrence J, Naturi Naughton and Novi Brown, airing on on BET, BET Her and VH1. Then the Image Awards telecast begins at 8 p.m. ET/PT, airing on BET, CBS and across 14 Paramount Global networks (including BET Her, VH1, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV, MTV2, Paramount Network, Pop, Smithsonian Channel, TV Land), as well as streaming live on the CBS network feed available on Paramount+.

For the first time, BET and the NAACP will provide audio descriptions for the live telecast, ensuring that blind and visually impaired viewers will be able to take in all the action. Industry leaders VITAC and Audio Eyes will provide the audio description on the Secondary Audio Programming (SAP) channel.

Getty Images

‘The Color Purple’ Picks Up Two More Wins as Virtual Ceremonies Conclude

As the Image Awards celebrate the achievements of people of color in more than 90 categories, the presentation of these awards takes place over the course of a week. The first set of awards were handed out in virtual ceremonies held Monday through Wednesday.

“The Color Purple” dominated the Image Award nominations with a leading 16 nods and first picked up the prize for outstanding soundtrack or compilation album. On Wednesday, the all-star cast — including Fantasia, Taraji P. Henson, Halle Bailey, H.E.R., Corey Hawkins, Colman Domingo and Danielle Brooks — was named best ensemble, while the film’s director Blitz Bazawule won the award for outstanding breakthrough creative (for a motion picture) in honor of his vision. “Survival of the Thickest” creator and star Michelle Buteau won the outstanding breakthrough creative prize for TV.

Jordan won the outstanding guest performance prize for his guest host stint on “Saturday Night Live,” but his feature directorial debut “Creed III” picked up its first win (in the outstanding stunt ensemble category) out of seven nominations.

This third round of winners also included the documentaries “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America” and “Invisible Beauty”; outstanding youth performance winner Leah Sava Jeffries (“Percy Jackson and the Olympians”); as well as directors Neema Barnette (“Grand Crew”), Dawn Wilkinson (“Power Book II: Ghost”), Chris Robinson (“Shooting Stars”) and Allen Hughes ( “Dear Mama”).

Khleo Thomas hosted the three-day Image Awards virtual experience, with Night 3 presenters Brian Jordan (“Tyler Perry’s Sistas”), Marcel Spears (“The Neighborhood”) and Nyambi Nyambi (“Night Court” and “Mike and Molly”). The full list of winners are:

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series
Norman Vance Jr. – “Saturdays”

Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series
Carla Banks-Waddles – “Bel-Air”

Outstanding Writing in a Television Movie or Special
Dwayne Johnson-Cochran – “Heist 88”

Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series
Neema Barnette – “Grand Crew”

Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series
Dawn Wilkinson – “Power Book II: Ghost”

Outstanding Directing in a Television Movie or Special
Chris Robinson – “Shooting Stars”

Outstanding Directing in a Documentary (Television or Motion Picture)
Allen Hughes – “Dear Mama”

Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Limited–Series)
Leah Sava Jeffries – “Percy Jackson and the Olympians”

Outstanding Cinematography in a Feature Film 
Eric K. Yue – “A Thousand and One”

Outstanding Animated Series
“The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder S2”

Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Motion Picture)
Blitz Bazawule – “The Color Purple”

Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Television)
Michelle Buteau – “Survival of the Thickest”

Outstanding Guest Performance
Michael B. Jordan – “Saturday Night Live”

Outstanding Documentary (Television)
“High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America”

Outstanding Documentary (Film)
“Invisible Beauty”

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture

Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture
“The Color Purple”

Outstanding Stunt Ensemble (TV or Film)  
“Creed III”

DC Young Fly, Issa Rae and ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’ Win During Second Night of Image Awards’ Virtual Ceremonies

DC Young Fly picked up two awards during the second of three nights of virtual Image Awards ceremonies. He was named outstanding host in a reality/reality competition, game show or variety series or special for emceeing BET’s “Celebrity Squares” and won the outstanding society and culture podcast prize for “The 85 South Show,” which he co-hosts with Karlous Miller and Chico Bean.

Rae, a three-time NAACP Image award winner for her hit series “Insecure,” added to her trophy case by winning a voiceover performance award for playing Jessica Drew a.k.a. Spider-Woman in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” Kyla Pratt won the TV voiceover performance prize for another season voicing Penny Proud in “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.”

“A Black Lady Sketch Show” finally won the outstanding variety show (series or special) trophy after two seasons of nabbing the nomination but not winning the prize. The Robin Thede-created comedy show wrapped up its run last year, with 16 Emmy nominations, among them four historic wins for editing and directing.

This second round of winners — presented in variety show, reality programming, children’s programming, short form, voiceover and podcast categories — also included Leslie Jones (“The Daily Show After the Cut”), Eboni K. Williams (“Holding Court with Eboni K. Williams”), “Gracie’s Corner” and the Academy Award-nominated short “The After,” directed by Misan Harriman and starring David Oyelowo.

Presenters for Night 2 of the virtual ceremonies were Dreka Gates, EJ Williams (ABC’s “The Wonder Years”), Judge Mablean (“Justice with Judge Mablean”), Leah Sava Jeffries (Disney+’s “Percy Jackson and the Olympians”) and Taja V. Simpson (BET’s “The Oval”). The winners are:

Outstanding Variety Show (Series or Special)
“A Black Lady Sketch Show”

Outstanding Host in a Reality/Reality Competition, Game Show or Variety (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble
DC Young Fly – “Celebrity Squares”

Outstanding Reality Program, Reality Competition or Game Show (Series)
“Wild ‘N Out”

Outstanding News/Information (Series or Special)
“20/20” – Kerry Washington: Thicker Than Water – A Conversation with Robin Roberts

Outstanding Children’s Program
“Gracie’s Corner”

Outstanding Performance in a Short Form Series
Leslie Jones – “The Daily Show After The Cut”

Outstanding Short Form Series – Comedy or Drama

Outstanding Short Form Series – Reality/Nonfiction
“I Was a Soul Train Dancer”

Outstanding Short Form Documentary (Film) 
“Black Girls Play: The Story of Hand Games”

Outstanding Short Form (Live Action)
“The After”

Outstanding Short Form (Animated)
“Lil’ Ruby”

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance (Motion Picture)
Issa Rae – “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance (Television)
Kyla Pratt – “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder”

Outstanding News and Information Podcast
“Holding Court with Eboni K. Williams”

Outstanding Podcast – Limited Series/Short Form
“Wakanda Forever: The Official Black Panther Podcast”

Outstanding Podcast – Scripted Series 
“Yes We Cannabis”

Outstanding Arts, Sports and Entertainment Podcast
“Here’s The Thing”

Outstanding Society and Culture Podcast
“The 85 South Show with Karlous Miller, DC Young Fly and Chico Bean”

Outstanding Lifestyle / Self-Help Podcast
“Black Money Tree”

Victoria Monét, Chris Brown and ‘The Color Purple’ Nab Early Wins on Night 1 of Image Awards’ Virtual Ceremony

Monét had received the most nominations in the recording categories with six nominations, followed closely by Usher who earned five nods, including entertainer of the year.

During the virtual ceremony on Monday night, the “Jaguar II” hitmaker won outstanding new artist and outstanding album — marking her first two NAACP Image Award wins and adding to a trophy case which already boasts three Grammys. Usher won for outstanding male artist, while the female artist prize went to H.E.R. Brown’s wins came from his collaborations with Ciara (“How We Roll”) and Davido & Lojay (“Sensational”).

Ciara celebrated the win with a video of herself strutting to her verse with the caption: “MOOD when you win your 1st NAACP IMAGE AWARD for “How We Roll” and I did it independently! Always bet on yourself.”

“The Color Purple,” which dominated the overall nominations with 16, landed its first win, picking up the prize for outstanding soundtrack or compilation album. The musical movie from director Blitz Bazawule reimagines Alice Walker’s classic novel and expands on Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film, as well as the Tony-winning Broadway musical. “The Color Purple” soundtrack includes performances from an all-star cast, including Fantasia, Taraji P. Henson, Halle Bailey, H.E.R., Corey Hawkins, Colman Domingo and Danielle Brooks, who was nominated for an Academy Award on Sunday.

Night 1 featured presenters Bellah (Hulu’s “Queenie”), Da’Vinchi (Starz’s “BMF”), Danielle Jalade (Disney’s “Saturdays”), Gabrielle Nevaeh (Nickelodeon’s “That Girl Lay Lay”) and Vanessa Simmons (BET+ “Deadly Entanglement”) revealing winners in the recording and literary categories. The winners are:

Outstanding International Song
“Me & U” – Tems

Outstanding Jazz Album
“Brand New Life” – Brandee Younger

Outstanding Gospel/Christian Song
“All Yours” – Kierra Sheard feat. Anthony Brown

Outstanding Gospel/Christian Album
“Father’s Day” – Kirk Franklin

Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration (Traditional)
“How We Roll” – Ciara feat. Chris Brown

Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration (Contemporary)
“Sensational” – Chris Brown feat. Davido & Lojay

Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album
“The Color Purple – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” – Various Producers

Outstanding Original Score for TV/Film
“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” – Jongnic Bontemps

Outstanding Male Artist
“Good Good” – Usher with 21 Savage x Summer Walker

Outstanding Female Artist
“The Journey” – H.E.R.

Outstanding New Artist
“Jaguar II” – Victoria Monét

Outstanding Hip Hop/Rap Song
“Cobra” – Megan Thee Stallion

Outstanding Album
“Jaguar II” – Victoria Monét

Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction
“Family Lore” – Elizabeth Acevedo

Outstanding Literary Work – Non-Fiction
“The New Brownies’ Book” – Karida L. Brown and Charly Palmer

Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author
“Rootless” – Krystle Zara Appiah

Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/ Autobiography
“Our Secret Society: Mollie Moon and the Glamour, Money, and Power Behind the Civil Rights Movement” – Dr. Tanisha C. Ford

Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional
“Historically Black Phrases: From ‘I Ain’t One of Your Lil’ Friends’ to ‘Who All Gon’ Be There?’” – Jarrett Hill and Tre’vell Anderson

Outstanding Literary Work – Graphic Novel
“The Talk” – Darrin Bell

Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry
“Suddenly We” – Evie Shockley

Outstanding Literary Work – Children
“CROWNED: Magical Folk and Fairy Tales from the Diaspora” – Kahran Bethencourt

Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens
“Everyone’s Thinking It” – Aleema Omotoni