Chicago’s own Jennifer Hudson named entertainer of the year

Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson

Chicago’s own Academy award winning actress and Grammy award winning singer and songwriter, Jennifer Hudson was named entertainer of the year at the 53rd annual NAACP Image Awards which highlighted works by entertainers and writers of color.

Not only did she accept the top honor of the evening, but she also won Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for playing Aretha Franklin in Respect. Hudson was shockingly snubbed by the Academy Awards this year for both best actress and best original song. 

“This is for Ms. Franklin’s legacy,” Hudson said while accepting the award for best actress. Hudson was cast as The Queen of Soul after winning her Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for Dreamgirls. Respect follows Aretha Franklin from childhood through the 1972 recording of the gospel album Amazing Grace.

The other actresses nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture were Andra Day for The United States vs. Billie Holiday, Halle Berry for Bruised, Tessa Thompson for Passing, and Zendaya for Malcolm & Marie.

This was the second year in a row that the outstanding actress award went to someone playing an iconic musician. Last year the award went to Viola Davis for playing blues great Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Lil Nas X, Megan Thee Stallion, Regina King, and Tiffany Haddish were all also nominated for entertainer of the year. After Hudson accepted the award Saturday night, the talented actress and singer thanked the NAACP for inspiring “little girls like me.”

“I was just standing here thinking ‘It was here – the NAACP Awards – where I watched so many legends and icons that inspired me,” Hudson said. “Now, I’m standing here holding an award like this. It’s because of seeing the Arethas, the Patti LaBelles, the Halle Berrys, all these legends right here on this stand that inspired me.”

Hosted by Anthony Anderson (who won best actor in a comedy series), the 2022 NAACP Image Awards aired live on BET on Saturday night in Los Angeles with some talent appearing in person while others watched virtually. There was no in-person audience this year.

Other winners of the evening include Netflix’s The Harder They Fall which won Outstanding motion picture, Will Smith won Outstanding actor in a motion picture for King Richard, HBO’s Insecure won Outstanding comedy series, Issa Rae won Outstanding actress in a comedy series for her work in Insecure, Outstanding actor in a drama series went to Sterling K. Brown  for playing Randall in This Is Us, and Angela Bassett won Outstanding actress in a drama series for her work on Fox’s 911.

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