January 14, 2011

The NAACP Image Awards, Another Party for the Rich, Famous & Politically Connected

We are 49 days away from the 42nd NAACP Image Awards. How do I know? Because of the running clock ticking down the days, the hours and minutes till this annual party for rich, famous and politically connected Black people kicks off. The event held its annual press conference yesterday and the entertainment section of USA Today wrote:

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Kimberly Elise and Smokey Robinson were on hand yesterday for The 42nd NAACP Image Awards nomination announcement and press conference at The Paley Center in Beverly Hills. So who got nods? Tyler Perry got a whopping 19 nominations.

Both of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's kids are up for prizes. Jaden, 12, is up for outstanding actor in a motion picture for The Karate Kid, while Willow, 10, will compete for best new artist as well as outstanding music video for Whip My Hair.

Janet Jackson, Halle Berry, Kerry Washington, Queen Latifah and Zoe Saldana are up for best actress. Denzel Washington, Anthony Mackie, Common, Morgan Freeman and the young Smith are competing in the best actor category. Other notable nominees include Rihanna, Kanye West, Sofia Vergara, Nicki Minaj and Justin Timberlake.

The NAACP says that the awards show “is the nation's premier multi-cultural awards show celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts (television, recording, literature, motion picture and writing & directing), as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors.”

Let us get one thing straight, this so-called image awards show is more about people of color in the entertainment industry and less about individuals and groups who promote social justice. It must be a legal necessity to include language about social justice to justify whatever funds the NAACP spends to throw a Hollywood party and lavish gifts and praise upon the already rich and famous. Why they choose to include the word “Image” in the title of the event is questionable unless they are strictly referring to the image of Black people playing characters in film, television and music videos. It certainly has nothing to do with the content of many of these people’s character or whether or not the images they present to the Black community is a negative or positive one.

Let us just look at some of the “characters” who have been nominated in the Recording category.

Nicki Minaj was nominated for Outstanding New Artist. Ms. Minaj is a rapper who is in an ongoing feud with fellow nasty girl rapper Lil Kim. Like Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj exploits sex and has no problem showing off her body and using it to get ahead in the music industry. Ms. Minaj was slapped on the butt on national television by dirty old white man Regis Philbin with no protest from her when it happened or after the fact. Ms. Minaj reportedly has a sex tape out on the internet as well. I could go on about Nicki Minaj but this is not about her, it is about why a so-called respectable civil rights organization would be giving an “Image” award to a woman I hope no teenage girl tries to emulate.

Then there is white rapper and bad boy degenerate Eminem who has promoted violence and substance abuse in music but last year most notably rapped about peeing on singer and actress Maria Carey who is now married to actor Nick Cannon. I guess if peeing on people did not exclude R Kelley from getting a nod from the NAACP when he was facing child pornography charges in 2004, then what can you say about Eminem’s NAACP Image Award nomination which he shares with Rhianna, another music industry sex kitten who had naked pictures released on the internet.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some worthy nominations such as Michelle Alexander for her book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” but then the literary category is tainted by comedian Steve Harvey’s Black man bashing book “Act Like a Lady, Think like a Man”

Members of the NAACP vote on the nominees and it is an invitation only event. Other events scheduled include:

Saturday, February 12, 2011
Nominees' Luncheon
Invitation Only

Monday, February 28, 2011 @ 6:30 PM
7th Annual NAACP Hollywood Bureau Symposium

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 @ 6:30 PM
Feature Film Night Reception & Screening
Creative Artist Agency (CAA)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 @ 8:30 AM
Celebrity Golf Challenge
Invitation Only

Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Ladies Tea & Fashion Show
Invitation Only

Thursday, March 3, 2011
Nominees' Pre-show Gala Reception
Invitation Only

I suspect the only way you get an invitation to these events is if you are rich, famous, politically connected and a member of the Black Bourgeois. With all the rhetoric, we hear about presenting positive images to our Black youth and inspiring them to become doctors, lawyers, pilots, engineers, it can be rightfully said that the NAACP and this award show is part of the problem when a large number of Black youth aspire to only be rappers, athletes and Hollywood stars.

Perhaps someone needs to create an awards show that celebrates the youth of color who has the highest GPA in the nation or the pre-teen who gets into college early. How about grassroots activists like Nancy Lockhart who fought tirelessly on behalf of the Scott sisters to free them from a Mississippi hellhole on a wrongful conviction only to have Benjamin Jealous and the NAACP swoop in at the last minute to take most of the credit and praise.

What about the father and mother of Mitrice Richardson who with strength and dignity are currently battling a possible cover up by the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department about their daughter Mitrice Richardson’s case, who went missing from a Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriffs station only to be found dead nearly a year later.

We must also not forgot to recognize Dr. John Johnson who is still taking on the U.S. Army over questionable circumstances of his daughters death, Pvt. LaVena Johnson who was found shot dead with other other injuries in Iraq on July 19, 2005.

There are people like R Lee Gordon of the National Black Teen Empowerment Expo who is affiliated with several wonderful youth organizations and individuals collaborating to inspire and empower Black youth.

Then there is the Grassroots activist group Peas in their Pods who set up and the run the online Riyla Alert system to help find missing Black children. The list could go on, as there is no lack of courageous people of color whom are actually doing great things other than making movies, videos and records.

Perhaps one day when the Black Talk Media Project has the level of funding that the NAACP gets from corporations to do things like stab the Black community in the back on Net Neutrality, it will host such a worthy event.

Last but not least of my criticisms is the sad fact that the media company News Corp is televising the event on FOX. FOX, the network that consistently antagonizes the Black community and the nation’s First Black Family. FOX is currently being scrutinized for being the source of much of the hateful vitriolic racist language that has played a role in a number of violent acts and murders committed by brainwashed right wing lemmings. FOX commentators have consistently called the NAACP itself a racist organization and often engaged in other such race baiting.

It is evident that the NAACP is out of touch with the average Black man, woman and child in America but that was already known by the masses and yet because the masses are so mislead by the media they consume, I’m sure many of them will tune in and fantasize about being Black, rich and famous in America.