The mood was a somber one at the 43rd Annual NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles last night. Much of the ceremony was colored by Whitney Houston’s memory, which was honored in the form of numerous tributes.
Yolanda Adams delivered a stirring rendition of “I Love the Lord, He Made Me Cry,” which she ended with “We love you, Nip.” (“Nip” is Houston’s nickname.)
Also highlighted during the evening was footage from the 1994 Image Awards, which depicted the late singer accepting an Image Award for outstanding female artist. In the clip, Denzel Washington is tasked with presenting the prize, and calls Houston an “artist of unparalleled stature.”
The night also handed out a bevy of awards for Oscar Best Picture contender The Help. Viola Davis collected the Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture award, while Octavia Spencer won Outstanding Supporting Actress. The movie itself, which Davis called “the joy of my life,” won for Outstanding Motion Picture. “I found my voice,” Davis said of the film. “I just emerged through The Help.”
Samuel L. Jackson presented a Vanguard Award to “the man, the myth, the legend” George Lucas, who released the Tuskegee Airmen epic Red Tails under his Lucasfilm banner.
Of course, Lucas also made a few popular science-fiction films, which Jackson addressed in his presentation by recounting how he told Lucas he would do anything to be in a Star Wars installment. “I’ll be a Storm Trooper and just run across the screen. Nobody even has to know I’m in it.”
Jennifer Hudson and Ne-Yo also got in on the Lucas action, performing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” for the filmmaker.
Other winners included Southland’s Regina King for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, Reed Between the Lines’ Tracee Ellis Ross for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series, and Reed’s Malcolm-Jamal Warner for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. For a full list of winners, click here.