Bill Vaughan’s Tasty Clips: Image Awards Turn Heads
The producers of the non-televised evening one of the 47th annual NAACP Image Awards should find a way to broadcast that as well. There was no shortage of head turners and industry leaders at the Pasadena Convention Center. That is where many of the nation’s top authors, screenwriters, artists, producers, television shows and musicians are lauded.
My table alone consisted of diverse nominees such as “Whitney” screenwriter Shem Bitterman, “Chasing Freedom” illustrator Michele Wood and Kekla Morgan of the best teen literary work “X.” Other big winners that evening were “Black-ish,” “Empire,” “Creed,” “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s,” and Jill Scott.
The next evening, aired on TV One, was a much tighter affair. Host Anthony Anderson may be up for an Emmy for his deft handling of the show. Timely jokes about Stacy Dash, “Aunt Viv” Janet Hubert and Ben Carson kept the crowd in stitches.
Though not a part of the festivities, Will Smith (with wife Jada Pinkett Smith) was treated like royalty in the house. During all the breaks in the broadcast, a who’s who of entertainment giants in the house made a bee line to his seat, often ignoring pleas to sit down before the show went live again.
The after party had a number of next-generation stars in attendance including Chadwick Boseman (“Gods of Egypt”), Teyonah Parris (“Chi-Raq”), Aunjanue Ellis (“The Book of Negroes”), Ronreaco Lee (“Survivor’s Remorse”) Abraham Attah (“Beasts of No Nation”), Jimmy Jean Louis (“Joy”) and Ro Brooks (“The Haves and the Have Nots”).
With the champagne flowing, comic actress/reality star Kym Whitley hosted the evening’s performances led by James Wright Chanel and Boyz II Men, who have a Las Vegas residency through 2020! They showed incredible versatility in picking up instruments and ripping into songs by the Beatles, Nirvana and Bob Marley.
“That’s what’s up,” said breakout film star O’Shea Jackson Jr. about veteran actor Carl Weathers calling him the biggest Oscar snub in this column. “I’m talked out about this thing,” Jackson admitted. “I’ll just say that if the Academy Awards are truly about film, [“Straight Outta Compton”] should’ve been recognized more.”
When asked about what’s next for him, Jackson dropped some real scoop. He mentioned being earmarked for John Ridley’s “L.A. Riots” movie and that he was “trying to get in shape for this thing Denzel [Washington] is directing.” Hmmm. The next project Denzel is helming is a HBO adaptation of August Wilson’s “Fences” with Viola Davis!
Something seemed to set off Michael B. Jordan, who won Entertainer of the Year, when suddenly he jumped up, kissed his mom goodbye, and started barking at folks while storming out of his section. Jussie Smollett (“Empire”) and sister Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“Underground”) must’ve seen it coming as they hastily left just prior.
With the controversy over a lack of diversity and an alleged boycott swirling, Oscars producer Reginald Hudlin put on the widest smile and told me he had no worries at all about this year’s Academy Awards show. He hopes the introduction of a thank you ticker during acceptance speeches will keep things moving.
Here’s the whole show!