By Kayla Rodgers
LOS ANGELES — Actress-singer Jennifer Hudson scored top honors at the 53rd annual NAACP Image Awards, capturing awards for Entertainer of the Year and Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture during the awards program Feb. 26 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
Will Smith was named Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for his role in “King Richard,” Sterling K. Brown won Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for his role in the hit NBC show “This is Us,” and Angela Bassett was honored as Outstanding Actress in a Drama series for her role on Fox’s police show “9-1-1.”
Hudson used her acceptance speech to thank the NAACP for its continued commitment to inspiring Black achievement and Black excellence in America and abroad.
“It was here, the NAACP Awards — I don’t want to cry — where I watched so many legends and icons that inspired me, and now I’m standing here holding an award like this,” Hudson said. “Thank you, NAACP for inspiring girls like me.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex — Prince Harry and Los Angeles native Meghan Markle — received the organization’s President’s Award for their tireless work in the fight for equity and social justice around the world.
“I think it’s safe to say that I come from a very different background from my incredible wife, yet our lives were brought together for a reason,” Prince Harry said in his acceptance speech. “We share a commitment to a life of service, a responsibility to combat injustice and a belief that the most often overlooked are the most important to listen to.”
In her speech, Markle spoke about working towards justice in America and about honoring civil rights icons like the late Rep. John Lewis.
“We moved to California, my home state, shortly before the murder of George Floyd. For Black America, those nine minutes and 29 seconds transcended time, invoking centuries of our unhealed wounds,” she said.
“In the months that followed, as my husband and I spoke with the civil rights community, we committed ourselves and our organization, Archewell, to illuminating those who are advancing racial justice and progress.”
She said today’s political leaders and activists can honor the contributions of past activists “by re-establishing federal voting protections in our country and fulfilling the work of civil rights giants, like the late John Lewis.”
The complete list of Image Awards winners follows.
Entertainer of the year: Jennifer Hudson
Outstanding motion picture: “The Harder They Fall”
Outstanding actor in a motion picture: Will Smith, “King Richard”
Outstanding actress in a motion picture: Jennifer Hudson, “Respect”
Outstanding supporting actor in a motion picture: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”
Outstanding supporting actress in a motion picture: Regina King, “The Harder They Fall”
Outstanding animated motion picture: “Encanto”
Outstanding comedy series: “Insecure”
Outstanding actor in a comedy series: Anthony Anderson, “black-ish”
Outstanding actress in a comedy series: Issa Rae, “Insecure”
Outstanding drama series: “Queen Sugar”
Outstanding actor in a drama series: Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
Outstanding actress in a drama series: Angela Bassett, “9-1-1”
Outstanding TV movie, series or dramatic special: “Colin in Black & White”
Outstanding actor in a TV movie, series or dramatic special: Kevin Hart, “True Story”
Outstanding actress in a TV movie, series or dramatic special: Taraji P. Henson, “Annie Live!”
Outstanding new artist: Saweetie
Outstanding male artist: Anthony Hamilton
Outstanding female artist: Jazmine Sullivan
Outstanding album: “Heaux Tales,” Jazmine Sullivan