NAACP Image Awards set to be most diverse awards show of the season

The cast of "Black-ish" poses after winning the NAACP Image Award for outstanding comedy series in Pasadena on Feb. 6. 2015.

The cast of “Black-ish” poses after winning the NAACP Image Award for outstanding comedy series in Pasadena on Feb. 6. 2015.

(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

As the NAACP Image Awards presentation gears up for a live broadcast on Friday, its red carpet, audience and winners list look to be the most diverse of the awards-show season.

Producers of the show, to be hosted by Anthony Anderson, announced Monday that those scheduled to attend include Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Gina Rodriguez, Ken Jeong and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

Other scheduled attendees include Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, Keegan-Michael Key, O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Abraham Attah.

Hear from actors at the SAG Awards as they walk the red carpet and discuss diversity in Hollywood.


One notable name on the attendee list is Will Smith, who, along with wife Jada Pinkett Smith, is at the center of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. Following the revelation that no actors of color were among the 20 acting nominees for the Academy Awards -- snubbing several performers who’d been considered contenders, including Smith (star of “Concussion”), Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”) and Michael B. Jordan (“Creed”) -- the couple announced that they would not attend the Oscars ceremony at the end of the month in protest.

“There’s a position that we hold in this community, and if we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem,” Smith recently told “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts. “For my part, I think I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and make our Hollywood community great. So when I look at the series of nominations of the academy, it’s not reflecting that beauty.”

The NAACP Image Awards presentation has consistently been a space of diversity in which entertainers, of color and not, have been honored. Among this year’s nominees are Rodriguez (“Jane The Virgin”), Guillermo Diaz (“Scandal”), Hudson Yang (“Fresh Off the Boat”) and Jill Soloway (creator of “Transparent”).

This year’s show is executive produced by Reginald Hudlin (who’s also producing the Oscars ceremony) and Phil Gurin.

The NAACP Image Awards presentation is scheduled to air live Friday at 9 p.m. EST on TV One. The show from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium will air tape-delayed on the West Coast.

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