Chris Rock, Maxwell, Keri Hilson win at 41st annual NAACP Image Awards

By Sandy Cohen, AP
Friday, February 26, 2010

Chris Rock, Maxwell win at NAACP Image Awards

LOS ANGELES — The Image Awards recognized diversity in the arts during a ceremony Friday filled with emotion and song.

Gospel singer Tamela Mann performed a rousing musical tribute to Tyler Perry, who was honored with the Chairman’s Award for his philanthropy and career achievements.

Presented by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Image Awards honor outstanding achievements in film, television, music and literature. The ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium opened with a colorful performance by Carlos Santana, Keri Hilson and Wyclef Jean that featured dancers dressed in spangled bikinis and feather headdresses.

Jean received the Vanguard Award at the ceremony for raising funds and cultural awareness after the earthquake in Haiti. Jill Scott performed a touching tribute to the Haitian musician and philanthropist before LL Cool J presented him with the award.

Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, Maxwell and “Brothers” star Daryl “Chill” Mitchell were among early winners Friday.

Mitchell was moved to tears as he accepted the award for best actor in a TV drama.

“As long as you all got legs, I’m going to always walk,” the wheelchair-bound actor said.

Rock said he was surprised when he won best documentary for his film “Good Hair.”

“I made this movie just for black people,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of documentaries, and I said I want the blackest movie of all time.”

“Precious,” the story of an illiterate and abused teen who finds hope in a Harlem classroom, had a leading eight nominations coming into the contest. Up for outstanding motion picture and outstanding independent film, “Precious” also earned nominations for director Lee Daniels, star Gabourey Sidibe and supporting actors Mariah Carey, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton and Lenny Kravitz.

Other nominated films include “Invictus,” ”Michael Jackson’s This Is It,” ”The Blind Side” and “The Princess and the Frog.”

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