Saturday, March 30, 2019, TV One will broadcast the 50th NAACP Image Awards (Image Awards). The NAACP was founded in 1909 and is the nation’s oldest and largest non-partisan civil rights organization. The NAACP Image Awards celebrates the accomplishments of people of color across diverse fields such as television, music, literature, and film.
Taking a look back when the NAACP Image Awards held its first ceremony in 1968, a movie ticket was $1.31 and America would change forever with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With time, the Image Awards has become as routine as the Oscar’s and a welcoming space where entertainers and politicians can embrace each other’s talent with a ‘for us, by us’ flare. The six-year strong collaboration with the NAACP Image Awards and TV One also highlights the community feel of the production, which is expected to have a lot of surprises.
Putting together a production is a collaborative effort that includes writers, marketers, and talent, all working in a sync fashion. Tia A. Smith, an Executive Producer of the NAACP Image Awards, reveals that the planning for the ceremony starts at least five months before it airs; and during that time her team is looking to see who is the “best and brightest in Hollywood, from A-listers to burgeoning newbies” in order to make the ceremony memorable for viewers.
By attracting the best talent, the home audience will not only get excited about the nominees, but also for the presenters. This year’s presenters include, John Legend, Kerry Washington, Amandla Stenberg, Thandie Newton, and comedian Trevor Noah, just to name a few. The diversity behind the scenes leads to the shows authenticity, and drives Smith’s purpose for being in production, which is “to bring wonderful stories that inspire people and give them hope so they know that they can do it.”
It is no accident that the special ceremony is held in Los Angeles, as the NAACP Hollywood Branch created the NAACP Image Awards. However, this is the first year the ceremony will be held in the heart of Hollywood at the Dolby Theatre. Although some who tune in may be several thousand miles away from tinsel-town, Robyn G. Arrington, VP of Programming and Production of TV One/Cleo TV, encourages aspiring writers not to feel discouraged because of their location. Arrington advises, “do the work, do the craft; technology has yielded itself to open more opportunities for writers,” which includes being able to work remotely on creative projects. This year’s writing nominations include, Peter Saji for “black-ish;” Justin Simien for “Dear White People;” Marquita J. Robinson for “Glow;” Regina Y. Hicks for “Insecure;” and Trevor Noah for ‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.” Arrington also notes, what may set the Image Awards apart from the other shows, is our show “brings us together like a family; Taraji P. Henson’s support of other people is amazing, I love seeing them root for each other.”