Black Hollywood Awards & Premieres
Like shows before and since, the 20th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards at the Director’s Guild of America in Los Angeles was star-studded. The awards featured hostess LisaRaye McCoy who appeared in a beautiful white one-piece outfit and co-host, Mekhi Phifer, arrived at the awards with a black Versace suit. But Ashanti made the most striking arrival with her stunning crimson gown and 5 clover jewel-studded ring.
The Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Branch organized the glamorous event honoring theatre celebrities and service. LL Cool J and actress Nia Long presented to the first honoree, Ashanti Douglas (Spirit Theatre Award). Long mentioned co-directing Ashanti’s video “Baby,” in addition, LL Cool J, spoke about Ashanti’s brilliant performance during “The Wiz” and her ability to seamlessly cross over into theatre from music. Another honoree presenter included Ben Vereen, who is a previous NAACP Theatre Award honoree. Vereen came to pass the torch to Broadway director, Kenny Leon who received the Trailblazer Theatre Award — for winning a Tony Award directing Fences on Broadway.
The Humanitarian Theatre Award was given to Isagenix for aiding victims of the Haitian earthquake disaster. Along those lines, actress Sharon Leal presented WalMart the President’s Theatre Award which was accepted by Quadiru Kent, Senior Vice President of Human Resources. Tavis Smiley presented the Community Service Theatre Award to Wren Brown for his efforts within the theatre community. Lastly, Oscar-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr. presented the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award to Jeffrey Wright for his numerous accomplishments and dedication to the theatre arts over the course of his career.
The awards night was also filled with marvelous live vignettes including “Mr. Bojangles” starring Obba Babatunde, “Sarafina” produced by Wendy Raquel Robinson’s Amazing Grace Conservatory, “Chicago Club Rumboogie”, and “The First Wives Club” the musical starring Tony Award nominee Sheryl Lee Ralph. The show closed with an striking performance by R&B artist Bobby Valentino.
Celebrity presenters have included Sydney Poitier, Anna Horsford, Quinton Aaron, Brian White, Kelly Price, Lance Gross, Omar Gooding, Meagan Good, Tatyana Ali, Tamera Mowry, Darren Henson, Denise Boutte and Kim Coles.