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Image Awards reflect on moments in history

The NAACP's 100-year anniversary and the election of Barack Obama help set the stage for a look back in time.

February 08, 2009|Mark Medina

It's a big night for black entertainers and for Hollywood at large. While raving that the nominees for the NAACP Image Awards will "blow folks away," including multiple nods for Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys, Chairwoman Clayola Brown also recognized the historical significance of this year's show.

The National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People's 40th annual Image Awards on Thursday at the Shrine Auditorium coincides with the organization's 100-year anniversary and the beginning of Barack Obama's presidency. "The whole show will be in that context," said Vicangelo Bulluck, the executive producer of NAACP's Hollywood bureau.

That includes Obama's planned attendance (the Image Awards honored him with the Chairman's Award in 2005). The show, broadcast by Fox and hosted by Halle Berry and Tyler Perry, will highlight influential films, music and people from 1909 to 2009.

Bulluck said: "The focus before was on highlighting positive images of African Americans," which included Sammy Davis Jr. receiving the Spingarn Medal (1968), named after the organization's chairman in 1914, and the Jackson 5 earning best singing group (1970). "Now it's a multicultural award show focusing on artistic excellence."

Nonetheless, a report released from the NAACP last month said the number of minority actors and writers in prime-time shows decreased in recent years. But as Brown said, "In the early days, we were looking for A-listers. Today, A-listers contact us to be a part of the celebration."

-- Mark Medina

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Image Awards

See more pictures from the awards over the years.

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