Angela Bassett and Beyoncé were the top individual winners at the 2023 NAACP Image Awards, with three awards each. Bassett took the top award – entertainer of the year – and opened her speech by having a little bit of fun with Ariana DeBose’s widely-mocked rap at last weekend’s Brit Awards, where the young star rapped, “Angela Bassett did the thing.”
“I guess Angela Bassett did the thing,” Bassett said, to much laughter. This marked the first time all five entertainer of the year nominees were women. The other nominees were Mary J. Blige, Quinta Brunson, Viola Davis and Zendaya.
Bassett also won outstanding supporting actress in a motion picture for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and outstanding actress in a drama [TV] series for 9-1-1 on FOX. The veteran actress is considered the front-runner to win an Oscar in the Oscar for best supporting actress on March 12. (DeBose won in that category last year for the reboot of West Side Story.)
All three of Beyoncé’s categories were presented prior to Saturday and she wasn’t present on the telecast. She took outstanding album for Renaissance (her third win in the category), outstanding soul/R&B song for “Cuff It” and outstanding female artist (her record-extending seventh win in the category).
Chris Brown, Brunson, Ryan Coogler and Davis each won two awards. (Some of their shows also won awards; this counts only awards presented to individuals.)
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever won outstanding motion picture, just as the original Black Panther did four years ago. This marks the second time in three years that a franchise film has won in this category. Two years ago, the award went to Bad Boys for Life, the third film in that franchise.
ABC’s Abbott Elementary won outstanding comedy [TV] series. The show was nominated for a Primetime Emmy in that same category last year and while it didn’t win, it’s practically a foregone conclusion that it will win this year.
That doesn’t mean there were no surprises at the 54th annual NAACP Image Awards, which were presented at nightly ceremonies this past week, culminating in a live broadcast on Saturday (Feb. 25) from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif. The show, ably hosted by Queen Latifah, aired on BET and was also simulcast across a dozen Paramount Global networks including CBS, MTV, VH1 and CMT.
One of the biggest surprises is that Kendrick Lamar didn’t win a thing. The acclaimed rapper received five nominations, which put him in a tie with Beyoncé for the most nods by anyone in the music categories. But where she won three awards this year, he was shut out.
Another hip-hop superstar, Drake, went 0-3 this year.
Without further ado, here are 14 Snubs & Surprises at the 2023 NAACP Image Awards.