The red hot Steve Harvey, a recent People’s Choice Award winner, will host the 44th NAACP Image Awards, celebrating the accomplishments of people of color working in the fields of literature, music, television and film. The festive gala, which also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors, airs live from the historic Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles at 8 p.m., Feb. 1 on NBC.
“I’m honored to be hosting the 44th NAACP Image Awards, and celebrate the variety of film, TV, literary, music contributions and special honorees this year. We’re live on stage, got great things in store for the night!” said Harvey.
Esteemed actor and All-State pitchman (“Are you in good hands?”) Dennis Haysbert will be the “in-show announcer” for the evening, and according to the organization, the dazzling list of presenters includes Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Wanda Sykes, Tony Goldwyn, Cedric the Entertainer, Keke Palmer, Tyler James Williams, Meagan Good, Laz Alonso and Lamorne Morris. In addition, Gladys Knight, Wyclef and Common are scheduled to perform.
In a special presentation, Navy Vice Admiral Michelle Howard will receive the NAACP Chairman’s Award, presented to individuals in special recognition of their efforts to utilize their profession to promote diversity and community involvement.
Kerry Washington, star of the hit ABC drama “Scandal,” will receive the NAACP President’s Award, chosen by NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, and bestowed in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service. Past honorees include Van Jones, President Clinton, Soledad O’Brien, Ruby Dee, Muhammad Ali, and most recently, the Founding Members of the Black Stuntmen’s Association.
“For the first time in 40 years, we have a Black woman playing the leading role in a primetime drama on network television. Kerry Washington is a modern trailblazer,” states Jealous. “Her talent and will have taken her to heights we have not seen in years. She extends the tradition of women like Ruby Dee, Cicily Tyson and Lena Horne. Rather the seeing her professional success as cause for political silence, she has chosen to use it as a platform for social change. Her championing of the rights of women around the world, and her early work to campaign for President Barack Obama are examples of her willingness to be a politically active and risk-taking woman in real life even as she plays one on TV.”
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the “premier advocates for civil rights in their communities,” conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.