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51st NAACP Awards Honors Kobe Bryant, 'Just Mercy' Wins Big

Gettyimages | Rob Carr
By Kasey Williams

There was little doubt that Kobe Bryant, the late Lakers star, would be honored at the 51st Annual NAACP Image Awards, but there was still the question of which production would take home some of the night's most coveted prizes.

Just Mercy, the Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx-starring courtroom drama, went on to collect several of the night's biggest wins, like "Outstanding Motion Picture," while Lizzo got the "Entertainer of the Year" prize that most predicted she would get before the night began.

Gettyimages | Frazer Harrison

On the other side of the night, Black-ish ran away as the top television show of the year for the second year in a row, going home with as many as six awards, including "Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series" for Anthony Anderson and "Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series" for Tracee Ellis Ross.

The show also took home "Outstanding Comedy Series."

The tribute to Bryant, who tragically died in a helicopter crash last month along with 8 others, was fitting.

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They replayed a recording of Bryant's farewell speech in 2016 after he scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz, ending on his famous last words, "What can I say? Mamba out."

It was an emotional show from start to finish, one in which US Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis (D-Georgia), who had the honor of celebrating his 80th birthday on Friday, recognized as the NAACP Chairman's Award.

Rihanna also received the President's Award, which is intended as a special achievement and recognition of public service.


The night's biggest winner, Just Mercy, took home a total of four trophies, "Outstanding Motion Picture," "Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture" for Jordan, "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture" for Foxx, and "Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture."

Lupita Nyong'o, who's also won an Academy Award for "Best Actress in a Supporting Role" for her performance in 12 Years A Slave, took home the prize for "Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture" for her performance in Jordan Peele's thriller Us.

Gettyimages | Rodin Eckenroth

The NAACP Image Awards are a distinguished ceremony intended to celebrate people of color for their work in film, television, music, and literature.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People first began the ceremony in 1967, although the show wasn't first televised until 1994 when Fox Network took it over.

This year, and in many previous years, the awards were broadcast live by BET and this year took place at the Pasadena Civic Center Auditorium in California.

The show's host, Anderson, also doubled as an award-winner.

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