By Dennis J. Freeman
Beverly Hills-The NAACP will have a strong presence in Los Angeles this year. The 42nd NAACP Image Awards will be televised here. Making an even bigger splash, the NAACP will bring its annual national convention to the City of Angels this July.
And if there was ever a time for the civil rights organization to makes its brand felt in the name of equality, justice and freedom, the time would be now as people of color face a myriad of issues. Housing and land discrimination exists.
High unemployment remains a major concern. Police brutality is still around. Workforce prejudice occurs. Lockup rates of blacks and Latinos continue to skyrocket. The lack of a quality education has become more of a novelty today instead of becoming a reality. In short, the NAACP’s work is unfinished.
Actor Affion Crockett said that’s why he supports the organization.
“An organization that’s civil-right-based, and an organization that began back then and is still around with the same mandate and the same mission, you have to support them,” said Crockett.
The NAACP’s work also includes celebrating and honoring African Americans and people of color in the film and entertainment industry. The names of nominees of the 42nd NAACP Image Awards, which will be televised on March 4, were announced this week.
Among those being nominated were Halle Berry (Frankie & Alice), Kerry Washington (Night Catches Us), Denzel Washington (Book of Eli), Samuel L. Jackson (Mother and Child) and the film “For Colored Girls,” which received a handful of nods.
Actress Kimberly Elise, a nominee in the Outstanding Support Actress in a Motion Picture category for her work in “For Colored Girls,” told news4usonline.com that the awards show is nothing short of a celebratory tribute to people of color in the entertainment industry.
“I think it is celebrating how far we’ve come and all the gifts that we have, “Elise said. “It’s supporting each other, going to each other’s work, showing up, being vocal and having events just like this where we’ll celebrate ourselves because we’re amazing.”
The amazing work the NAACP has done is still in effect, said Elise.
“As long as there are people of color…the NAACP is still relevant,” Elise said. “They’ve been our shepherd, our saving grace and our godmother and godfather for generations. They continue to be that and a voice and a place where we can be picked up and lifted up and put on a pedestal and celebrated.
“We have that. I just think that it’s unfortunate that we have the NAACP because it’s sort of a commentary on just how we can be left out, taken for granted and forgotten. The NAACP won’t let you do that. They won’t let us be forgotten. I love that. We still need them.”
Actress Sanaa Lathan is still very relevant today as it was back when the organization was formed.
“It’s relevant because we have so much amazing talent in our community and we contribute so much to the entertainment industry as a whole with that talent and oftentimes we are not recognized the way I think we should be. So this is way to recognize us and celebrate us. I think it’s a great thing.
“I feel very blessed. I think every career is hard. Longevity is hard in any career. I know you know that. It’s a struggle with everyone. I feel very blessed. The struggle for me is to continue to stay positive and to keep persevering.”