Queen Latifah to Host NAACP Image Awards

The 54th annual NAACP Image Awards have found their host in Emmy and Grammy winner and Oscar nominee Queen Latifah. The actor, producer, musician, author and entrepreneur takes on the role of the NAACP Image Awards emcee for the first time.

“It’s an honor to host the 54th NAACP Image Awards, especially in the year we are celebrating 50 years of Hip Hop,” Latifah stated. “This is a night to celebrate Black excellence and Black contribution to our industry and beyond. Celebrating one another, lifting each other up and you know we’ll have fun doing it!”

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The awards show will be broadcast from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif., on Feb. 25, airing at 8 p.m. ET on BET. It will also simulcast across Paramount Global networks (including BET HER, CBS, CMT, Comedy Central, LOGO, MTV, MTV2, Paramount Network, POP TV, Smithsonian, TV Land and VH1).

Over the course of her career, Latifah has earned 15 NAACP Image Award nominations, winning four trophies. This year, she is nominated for outstanding actress in a drama series for “The Equalizer,” vying against Angela Bassett (“9-1-1”), Brandee Evans (“P-Valley”), Rutina Wesley (“Queen Sugar”) and Zendaya (“Euphoria”).

As one of Variety’s Power of Women honorees in 2022, Latifah looked back at her three decades in the entertainment business — from her 1989 debut album “All Hail the Queen” through “Living Single” and “Chicago” to “The Equalizer” and all the hit records, movies and television shows in between. “I’m always looking forward to the next thing,” Latifah said, modestly. “I don’t really rest on my laurels.”

And the hosting gig comes amid a busy season for the megastar. Following Saturday night’s broadcast, Latifah will be back on TV screens on Sunday when “The Equalizer” continues airing the second half of its third season on CBS. (A fourth season of the show, which Latifah also executive produces, has already been ordered.)

“Queen Latifah is one of our generation’s most influential and iconic voices. We are excited to collaborate with the groundbreaking megastar as she hosts the 54th NAACP Image Awards,” said Connie Orlando, BET’s EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy. “As always, we look forward to partnering with NAACP to celebrate Black creativity and ingenuity for an unforgettable night of Black excellence that will inspire, entertain, and empower viewers worldwide.”

Latifah takes over hosting duties from Anthony Anderson, who has presided over the previous nine ceremonies.

BET and the NAACP also announced the first round of presenters for the awards show, including Brian White, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Damson Idris, Taye Diggs, Harold Perrineau, Issa Rae, Janelle Monáe, Janelle James, Jonathan Majors, Kerry Washington, Letitia Wright, Morris Chestnut, Ms. Pat, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Terrence Howard, Tracee Ellis Ross and Zendaya, as well as NAACP president Derrick Johnson and NAACP chairman Leon W. Russell.

“This year’s NAACP Image Awards will be an amazing celebration, highlighting the major accomplishments of artists, writers, entertainers, activists and other changemakers,” added Johnson. “It will also be a night that shows how we come together as a community to make a powerful impact on amplifying our stories around the world.”

Saturday night’s ceremony marks the first in-person presentation of the Image Awards since February 2020 and the culmination of a weeklong celebration, as winners for the majority of the Image Award’s 80 categories will be presented at a variety of virtual and in-person events.

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