The NAACP Image Awards is an accolade presented by the American National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to honor outstanding people of color in film, television, music, and literature. It prides itself on honoring and celebrating outstanding people of color and it never fails to deliver key moments of inspiration each and every year. Many of this years honorees delivered emotional speeches that demanded the audiences attention.
While accepting the Spingarn Medal for outstanding achievement, Harry Belafonte used the platform to address the ongoing issue of gun violence and control; a continuing debate in this country in recent months following the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, and the alarming rates of gun violence in the city of Chicago :
In the gun game, we are the most hunted. The river of blood that washes the streets of our nation flows mostly from the bodies of our black children. Where is the raised voice of black America? Why are we mute? [...] Never in the history of Black America has there ever been such a harvest of truly gifted and powerful artists [...] our Nation hungers for their radical song. Let us not sit back silently. Let us not be charged with patriotic treason.
Jamie Foxx grew emotional as he accepted the “Entertainer of The Year Award.” He began his speech by saying that Harry Belafonte’s speech was a reminder that he had much more work to do.
All I can say is I’m so humbled tonight. I was thinking of all the stuff I could say personally about myself, and I was gonna be all about me and how I did it, and how me and I and I and me, then you watch Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier come out. Then you say, it’s really not a big of a deal of what you are doing just yet. I had so many things I wanted to say but after watching and listening to Harry Belafonte speak, sometimes I feel like somehow I failed in being caught up in what I do but I guarantee you that I’m going to work a lot harder man.
Django was an absolute blessing of a movie. [....] When doing the movie ‘Django’ and talking about respecting our ancestors, we were actually on the plantation and when Kerry said she was gonna take the lashings, I thought that was very courageous. You are more courageous than any of the dudes in the movie but what people didn’t know is that Quentin would play music in between some of the scenes, and the music we chose that day was, [starts singing] “No weapons formed against me shall prosper, it won’t work. No weapons formed against me…”