The Image Awards program, begun by the Hollywood branch of the NAACP 23 years ago to highlight the achievements of African Americans in the entertainment industry, has been taken over by the organization's national office.
The decision removing control of the annual event from the Hollywood branch follows years of friction with the national office over who should control the program.
The Board of Directors of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People made the decision in New York last weekend, said James Williams, a spokesman for the national office.
The action relegates the Hollywood branch to a supporting role, Williams acknowledged.
"The national will be the leading force but the branch will still have some involvement," he said.
The most recent awards program was held in December at the Wiltern Theatre and shown on NBC last month, the first time the program was aired in prime time.
Local supporters of the Hollywood branch have been saying for months that the national office would seize control of the program. Sandra Evers-Manley, president of the branch, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
In October, 1989, Benjamin Hooks, the organization's executive director, put the branch into trusteeship, saying that disputes over the show had put the chapter into "paralysis." The trusteeship, still in effect, was reportedly reconfirmed at the Board of Directors meeting and is to remain in effect at least until July when the NAACP holds its national convention in Houston.
Hooks, Williams said, received authority to begin the search for a full-time Image Awards administrator, who will negotiate an agreement for next year's broadcast of the show and choose a production company and site.
Hooks will be advised on these and other changes by an Image Awards Committee. That committee has three members, none from Hollywood.