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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The NAACP Image Awards Celebrate Mediocrity in Black America

I’m gonna go on record stating that the NAACP Image awards were a steaming bag of crap this year. Quote me on that. With this year’s Image awards the NAACP gave awards to the most popular celebrities and not the best work by African-Americans in 2010. By rewarding people based on who they are and not what they’ve done, the NAACP betrays what it’s supposed to stand for, the advancement of African-American achievement and excellence.

Looking at some of the winners this year it’s clear why the NAACP Image Award is TARNISHED:

Getting To Happy Best Fiction work? COME ON. Many in publishing called it the worst book Terry McMillan ever wrote and one of the worst of the year. Black book clubs across the country RIPPED IT in their reviews. Yet it wins an award for being Best Fiction with the NAACP. WTF?

Surely, if the NAACP opened itself up to many of the small press and self-published authors out there, maybe they could have found a more deserving candidate who could have given their award some prestige.

Frankie and Alice Best Independent Film? HELL NO. Another critically panned film that got an award it didn’t deserve. That award should have gone to Night Catches Us. But it being a small independent film with NO STAR POWER meant NO CHANCE with the NAACP.

Halle Berry Best Actress in an Independent film? HELL NO. That award should have gone to Kerry Washington for Night Catches Us. But Kerry isn’t as popular as Halle and her winning means the show wouldn’t get any ratings.

House of Payne Best Comedy? NOT IN A MILLION YEARS ON JUPITER. House of Payne is absolutely HORRIBLE. Boondocks Season 3 was the best African-American comedy PERIOD. The Winston Jerome episode OWNS everything Tyler Perry did in his WHOLE CAREER. But Aaron McGruder gets no praise from the NAACP for his work because Tyler Perry has FATTER POCKETS.

David Mann Best actor in a comedy? Dude gets upstaged by EVERYONE ON HIS OWN SHOW. No, that award should belong to Terry Crews on Are We there Yet? Crews commands that show and is a solid comedy performer. But Mann wins the award because of Perry’s FAT POCKETS.

Vanessa Williams for Best actress in a TV series for her work on Desperate Housewives? NO WAY. While I love Vanessa’s work in Ugly Betty and her body of work overall, the writing hasn’t been there on DH for her to work with. Seriously, she hasn’t even appeared in enough episodes for any critic to form a consensus of her work yet. No, that award should have gone to Salli Richardson-Whitfield for her YEAR of solid work in Eureka.

For Colored Girls Best Picture? WTF? Yeah, some of the performances were by some of the actresses were strong. But the movie itself was a TOTAL MESS. A puerile screenplay, horrible cinematography, inept direction, and terrible writing. It wasn’t the best Black film by a longshot. But with so many bad films last year I guess it’d be embarrassing to give an award for Best Picture to crapfests like Lottery Ticket or Our Family Wedding. Yeah, the Black movies were THAT BAD last year.

Tyler Perry Best Director. GOOD GOD NO! Perry is an abomination to film, the Ed Wood of Black Cinema who made TWO TERRIBLE films last year. Yet he clears multiple awards from the NAACP. Couldn’t the NAACP given this to the Hughes brothers for their strong work on Book of Eli? Or how about the Director of Night Catches Us? Both would have been more deserving of the award than the master of the cinematic hot mess, Tyler Perry.

Instead of taking the opportunity to elevate lesser known work from people who are truly talented in the Black community, the NAACP sunk its credibility to an all-time-low by focusing only on who was rich and famous. The entire Image Awards show was a big ratings grab for the NAACP and a circle jerk for the Black Elite.

And that’s what makes the NAACP Image Award a joke in the eyes of the Black Community and the rest of the world. It’s also what makes the NAACP a joke in the eyes of the Black community and the rest of the world. Watching a bunch of out-of-touch rich niggers patronize themselves for being mediocre isn’t entertaining. It’s embarrassing.

The sad thing about the NAACP Image Award is that it could have some merit if the NAACP imposed some standards for quality in their nomination processes. Instead of just nominating people for being Black, how about judging brothers and sisters work based on some criteria for content? With all the African-American film and book critics out there they should be able to form a consensus on what material deserves to be nominated, what needs to be rewarded, and what should be passed on. And from that consensus it would mean much more when African-Americans gave an award to other brothers and sisters for their work. By rewarding the best and brightest in the Black community it would give NAACP Image Award value and make it something brothers and sisters can aspire to achieve. Moreover, it would give African-Americans an incentive to try harder and step up their games and hone their crafts.

As it stands right now the NAACP Image Award is nothing more than a consolation prize given to Brothers and Sisters for just being Black, not being the best African-American in their craft. What kind of award is that to win? What standard is that for excellence? What kind of message does that send to brothers and sisters in the African-American community? What kind of message does that send to our children? Don’t try hard, just show up and be Black? Oh, and be popular. Are we really that shallow as a people?

That kind of reward doesn’t advance Black people, it sets us back. It’s a slap in the face to everything Dr. King and all those who participated in the Civil Rights Movement stood for. It’s the equivalent of telling Black people to settle for being Maids, Pullman Porters, and Janitors instead of aspiring to be business owners, managers, executives, and even President of the United States.

Seriously, I thought the NAACP was the National Association for the Advancement of All Colored People. But the NAACP Image Awards show was more like the National Association for the Advancement of Certain Colored People. Instead of inspiring brothers and sisters to advance to the next level by rewarding our best and brightest, the NAACP continues to enable mediocrity by rewarding Black people for poor and substandard work.

As long as organizations like the NAACP keeps rewarding African-Americans for settling for less, Black folks will never have the passion to do their best. And that’s going to hurt the Black community in the long run.

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