Beyonce was named entertainer of the year, beating out NBA superstar LeBron James, actors Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) and Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), and director Ryan Coogler (Black Panther).
“Regina King, I love you so much. You taught us patience, persistence and how to be masterful in your craft,” Beyonce told the crowd. “Chadwick Boseman is teaching children to dream and to be seen as kings. LeBron James has taught us the strength of all forms, leading by example and providing education to our kids. Ryan Coogler tells our stories in a way that celebrates our history and proves we do have power.”
She added, “I’m honored to be included among all of you, and to be a part of a vital and thriving community. Thank you to the NAACP.”
Jay-Z was another big winner at the ceremony. The hip-hop icon received the president’s award for his efforts through the Shawn Carter Foundation and serving as co-founder of the REFORM Alliance.
Jay-Z dedicated the award to his 93-year-old grandmother Hattie White. “It’s not the amount of years in your life. It’s the amount of life in your years,” he said, quoting Abraham Lincoln. “That quote embodies my beautiful grandmother.”
Other music awards went to Ella Mai, who won outstanding new artist and outstanding album, and outstanding song – contemporary. Bruno Mars was named outstanding male artists and H.E.R. was awarded with outstanding female artist.
Best actress in a drama went to Empire star Taraji P. Henson. Embattled actor Jussie Smollett lost to Grey’s Anatomy in the supporting actor in a drama series category.
Chris Rock, who presented outstanding comedy series to ABC’s black-ish, took part of his time on stage to address Smollett’s recent run-ins with the law.
“What the hell was he thinking?” Rock asked. “From now on, you’re Jessie from now on. You don’t even get the ‘U’ no more. That ‘U’ was respect.”
Rock added, “What a waste of white skin. You know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair? My career would be out of here. F–ing running Hollywood.”
In response, black-ish star Yara Shahidi simply stated, “I stand with Jussie.”
Meanwhile, Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) won for his directing on Atlanta, and also walked away with best music video for “This Is America.”
The NAACP Image Awards aired live on TV One. See the full winners list here.