From Matt Damon to Mark Ruffalo to President Obama, it seems like everyone has something to say about how very white the Oscar nominees were this year. In the wake of the controversy the Academy announced plans to re-staff, but diversity was nonetheless on everyone’s mind (and in everyone’s speeches) at last night’s annual NAACP Image Awards in Hollywood.
Anthony Anderson, the award show’s host, told the Hollywood Reporter he would absolutely address the “elephant in the room,” and he did so from the get-go. “Look at all of these beautiful shades of people in the audience,” he said in his opening monologue. “Hollywood needs to know that this is what diversity is supposed to look like.”
But it was Empire actress Taraji P. Henson who stole the spotlight, giving an incredibly powerful speech upon receiving the award for outstanding actress in a drama series. “We don’t need to ask for acceptance from anyone,” she said. “We are enough, we’ve been enough and we always will be enough.”
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, who have both said they’re boycotting this year’s Oscars, attended last night’s ceremony, earning a special shout-out from Anderson: “They better be here after all this ish they started.”
And both Creed and Straight Outta Compton—two films notably snubbed by the Academy—were honored last night. “This is about us,” Anderson said in closing. “This is our show and it’s not a comeback. We have been here and we aren’t going anywhere.”
Copyright 2016 IAR Magazine