Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z lead NAACP Image Award nominees

Recording artists Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z are tied with five nominations for the 49th NAACP Image Awards.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times, left; Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z have tied for the most nominations for the 49th NAACP Image Awards.

The R&B icon and “4:44" rapper scored five nominations apiece on Monday, when the nominees were announced by the civil-rights organization.

Trailing behind them are singer Bruno Mars, “Insecure” creator Issa Rae, rapper Kendrick Lamar and singer SZA with four nominations apiece. Musician Charlie Wilson, actor Idris Elba and singer Ledesi also earned three nods each.

Jay-Z, Mars and Rae are up for top honors in the entertainer of the year category, alongside director Ava DuVernay, “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman and Chance the Rapper.


On the business side, streaming giant Netflix and cable network OWN led the TV nominations with 23 nominations and 17 nominations, respectively. RCA Records and Capitol Records led the recording category with 12 and six nominations, respectively.

And Universal Pictures earned 10 nominations, followed by Annapurna and Open Road Films, which both received five nominations in the motion picture categories. HarperCollins Publishing earned 11 nominations in the literary category.

The multicultural award show, which recognizes the accomplishments of people of color across the TV, music, literature and film industries as well as those who promote social justice, will be held on Jan. 15, coinciding with the birth of Martin Luther King. Jr.

“Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson, who scored an acting in a comedy series nomination, will host the festivities at Pasadena Civic Auditorium, which will broadcast live on TV One.

“At a moment where there seems to be one tragic event after another in America, the NAACP Image Awards continues to be a beacon of light to the diversity reflected in television, music, film and literature that brings everyone together,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of NAACP, in a statement.

Members of the NAACP will vote on the NAACP Image Awards winners.

Here are nominees for some of the key categories, and the full list is here.

Ava DuVernay is nominated for multiple NAACP Image awards.
(Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images )



  • Ava DuVernay
  • Bruno Mars
  • Chadwick Boseman
  • Chance the Rapper
  • Issa Rae
  • Jay-Z


Comedy Series

  • “Ballers” (HBO)
  • “black-ish” (ABC)
  • “Dear White People” (Netflix)
  • “Insecure” (HBO)
  • “Survivor’s Remorse” (Starz)

Actor in a comedy series


  • Anthony Anderson - “black-ish” (ABC)
  • Aziz Ansari - “Master of None” (Netflix)
  • Dwayne Johnson - “Ballers” (HBO)
  • Keegan-Michael Key - “Friends from College” (Netflix)
  • RonReaco Lee - “Survivor’s Remorse” (Starz)

Actress in a comedy series

  • Danielle Brooks - “Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix)
  • Issa Rae - “Insecure” (HBO)
  • Loretta Devine - “The Carmichael Show” (NBC)
  • Niecy Nash - “Claws” (TNT)
  • Tracee Ellis Ross - “black-ish " (ABC)

Drama Series

  • “Greenleaf” (OWN)
  • “Power” (Starz)
  • “Queen Sugar” (OWN)
  • “This Is Us” (NBC)
  • “Underground” (WGN America)

Actor in a drama series

  • Kofi Siriboe - “Queen Sugar” (OWN)
  • Mike Colter - “Marvel’s the Defenders” (Netflix)
  • Omari Hardwick - “Power” (Starz)
  • Sterling K. Brown - “This Is Us " (NBC)
  • Terrence Howard - “Empire” (FOX)

Actress in a drama series


  • Jurnee Smollett-Bell - “Underground” (WGN America)
  • Kerry Washington - “Scandal” (ABC)
  • Rutina Wesley - “Queen Sugar” (OWN)
  • Taraji P. Henson - “Empire” (FOX)
  • Viola Davis - “How to Get Away With Murder” (ABC)

Television movie, limited-series or dramatic special

  • “Flint” (Lifetime)
  • “Shots Fired” (FOX)
  • “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” (HBO)
  • “The New Edition Story” (BET)
  • “When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story” (TV One)

Talk series

  • “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC)
  • “Super Soul Sunday” (OWN)
  • “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central)
  • “The Real” (Syndicated)
  • “The View” (ABC)

Performance by a youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Limited Series)

  • Caleb McLaughlin - “Stranger Things” (Netflix)
  • Ethan Hutchison - “Queen Sugar” (OWN)
  • Lonnie Chavis - “This Is Us” (NBC)
  • Marsai Martin - “black-ish” (ABC)
  • Michael Rainey - “Power” (Starz)



New Artist

  • Demetria McKinney - “Officially Yours” (eOne Music)
  • Kevin Ross - “The Awakening” (Motown/Capitol Records)
  • Khalid - “American Teen” (RCA Records/Right Hand Music Group)
  • SZA - “Ctrl” (RCA Records/Top Dawg Entertainment)
  • Vic Mensa - “The Autobiography” (Roc Nation/Capitol Records)

Male artist

  • Brian McKnight - “Genesis” (SoNo Recording Group)
  • Bruno Mars - “Versace On the Floor” (Atlantic Records)
  • Charlie Wilson - “In It to Win It” (RCA Records/P Music Group)
  • Jay-Z - “4:44" (Roc Nation)
  • Kendrick Lamar - “DAMN” (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope)

Female artist

  • Andra Day - “Stand Up For Something” (Warner Bros. Records)
  • Beyoncé - “Die With You” (Columbia Records/Parkwood Entertainment)
  • Ledisi - “Let Love Rule” (Verve Label Group)
  • Mary J. Blige - “Strength of a Woman” (Capitol Records)
  • SZA - “Ctrl” (RCA Records/Top Dawg Entertainment)



  • “4:44" - Jay-Z (Roc Nation)
  • “DAMN” - Kendrick Lamar (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope)
  • “Genesis” - Brian McKnight (SoNo Recording Group)
  • “In It To Win It” - Charlie Wilson (RCA Records/P Music Group)
  • “Strength of a Woman” - Mary J. Blige (Capitol Records)
Denzel Washington is nominated for his performance in “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
(Columbia Pictures )


Literary work - Fiction

  • “Little Fires Everywhere” - Celeste Ng (Penguin Random House)
  • “No One Is Coming to Save Us” - Stephanie Powell Watts (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • “Sing, Unburied, Sing” - Jesmyn Ward (Simon and Schuster)
  • “The Annotated African American Folktales” - Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Author), Maria Tatar (Author) (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
  • “The Wide Circumference of Love” - Marita Golden (Skyhorse Publishing Inc.)

Literary work - Non-Fiction


  • “Black Detroit – A People’s History of Self-Determination” - Herb Boyd (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • “Chokehold: Policing Black Men” - Paul Butler (The New Press)
  • “Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies” - Dick Gregory (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • “The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas” - Adrian Miller (University of North Carolina Press)
  • “We Were Eight Years In Power: An American Tragedy” - Ta-Nehisi Coates (Random House)


Motion picture

  • “Detroit” (Annapurna Pictures)
  • “Get Out” (Universal Pictures)
  • “Girls Trip” (Universal Pictures)
  • “Marshall” (Open Road Films)
  • “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Actor in a motion picture

  • Algee Smith - “Detroit” (Annapurna Pictures)
  • Chadwick Boseman - “Marshall” (Open Road Films)
  • Daniel Kaluuya - “Get Out” (Universal Pictures)
  • Denzel Washington - “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” (Columbia Pictures)
  • Idris Elba - “The Mountain Between Us” (20th Century Fox)

Actress in a motion picture


  • Amandla Stenberg - “Everything, Everything” (Warner Bros. Pictures / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)
  • Danai Gurira - “All Eyez on Me” (Summit Entertainment)
  • Halle Berry - “Kidnap” (Aviron Pictures)
  • Natalie Paul - “Crown Heights” (Amazon Studios)
  • Octavia Spencer - “Gifted” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Independent motion picture

  • “Detroit” (Annapurna Pictures)
  • “Last Flag Flying” (Amazon Studios)
  • “Mudbound” (Netflix)
  • “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women” (Annapurna Pictures)
  • “Wind River” (Acacia Filmed Entertainment)


Writing in a comedy series

  • Aziz Ansari - “Master of None” - Thanksgiving (Netflix)
  • Janine Barrois - “Claws” - Batsh*t (TNT)
  • Justin Simien - “Dear White People” - Chapter 1 (Netflix)
  • Issa Rae - “Insecure” - Hella Great (HBO)
  • Issa Rae - “Insecure” - Hella Perspective (HBO)

Writing in a dramatic series


  • Anthony Sparks - “Queen Sugar” - What Do I Care for Morning (OWN)
  • Ava DuVernay - “Queen Sugar” - Dream Variations (OWN)
  • Erica Anderson - “Greenleaf” - The Bear (OWN)
  • Gina Prince-Bythewood - “Shots Fired” - Hour One: Pilot (FOX)
  • Vera Herbert - “This Is Us” - Still Here (NBC)

Writing in a television movie or special

  • Abdul Williams - “The New Edition Story” - Night Two (BET)
  • Alison McDonald - “An American Girl Story: Summer Camp, Friends for Life” (Amazon)
  • Cas Sigers-Beedles - “When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story” (TV One)
  • May Chan - “An American Girl Story - Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance” (Amazon)
  • Peter Landesman, Alexander Woo, George C. Wolfe - “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” (HBO)

Writing in a motion picture

  • Dee Rees, Virgil Williams - “Mudbound” (Netflix)
  • Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani - “The Big Sick” (Amazon Studios)
  • Jordan Peele - “Get Out” (Universal Pictures)
  • Kenya Barris, Tracy Oliver - “Girls Trip” (Universal Pictures)
  • Mark Boal - “Detroit” (Annapurna Pictures)


Directing in a comedy series


  • Anton Cropper - “black-ish” - Juneteenth (ABC)
  • Barry Jenkins - “Dear White People” - Chapter 5 (Netflix)
  • Justin Simien - “Dear White People” - Chapter 1 (Netflix)
  • Spike Lee - “She’s Gotta Have It” - #NolasChoice (Netflix)
  • Ken Whittingham - “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” - Kimmy Bites an Onion! (Netflix)

Directing in a dramatic series

  • Carl Franklin - “13 Reasons Why” - Tape 5, Side B (Netflix)
  • Ernest R. Dickerson - “The Deuce” - Show and Prove (HBO)
  • Gina Prince-Bythewood - “Shots Fired” - Hour One: Pilot (FOX)
  • Jeffrey Byrd - “Switched at Birth” - Occupy Truth (Freeform)
  • Jonathan Demme - “Shots Fired” Hour Six: The Fire This Time (FOX)

Directing in a television movie or special

  • Allen Hughes - “The Defiant Ones” (HBO)
  • Chris Robinson - “The New Edition Story” - Night 1 (BET)
  • Codie Elaine Oliver - “Black Love” (OWN)
  • Kevin Hooks - “Madiba " - Night 2 (BET)
  • Mark Ford - “Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G.” (A&E)

Directing in a motion picture

  • Dee Rees - “Mudbound” (Netflix)
  • Jordan Peele - “Get Out” (Universal Pictures)
  • Malcolm D. Lee - “Girls Trip” (Universal Pictures)
  • Reginald Hudlin - “Marshall” (Open Road Films)
  • Stella Meghie - “Everything, Everything” (Warner Bros. Pictures / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)

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