Luther Vandross won four NAACP Image Awards in a ceremony Saturday (March 6) that blended politics with a wide range of honors for works by and about people of color. The soul crooner is recovering fr

Luther Vandross won four NAACP Image Awards in a ceremony Saturday (March 6) that blended politics with a wide range of honors for works by and about people of color. The soul crooner is recovering from a stroke and was not at Los Angeles' Universal Amphitheatre to pick up his prizes for best male artist and his music video, song and album titled "Dance With My Father." The sentimental favorite won four Grammys last month.

The Gospel music comedy "The Fighting Temptations" won for best movie. Cuba Gooding Jr. was honored as best actor for "Radio," and Queen Latifah was named best actress for "Bringing Down the House."

Hip-hop group OutKast won for outstanding duo or group, and rotund young R&B star Ruben Studdard won best new artist after crooning from his seat in a performance early in the night.

Studdard thanked his grandmother for "being part of the struggle in the '60s," one of several references to politics and the civil rights movement.

Ray Charles was inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame after a tribute performance that featured B.B. King, Stevie Wonder and Bonnie Raitt. "They do so much to help so many," Charles said of the NAACP. "I want you to know this is truly an honor and I thank you from the bottom of my heart."

Special awards went to the Dave Matthews Band and T.D. Jakes, a nationally known evangelist and pastor of Dallas-based the Potter's House, one of the nation's fastest-growing churches with 59 ministries.

NAACP President Kweisi Mfume noted the importance of the upcoming presidential election, saying his organization wants to register and turn out another 2 million people in the November election. "If you don't vote," Mfume said, "you really don't count."

The awards by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are determined by show business professionals and NAACP officials nationwide. The ceremony will be broadcast Thursday (March 11) on Fox.


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