Icons, newcomers win Image Awards

NAACP honors Ray Charles, Luther Vandross

— Soul crooner Luther Vandross won four NAACP Image Awards in a ceremony Saturday that blended politics with a wide range of honors for works by and about people of color.

Vandross is recovering from a stroke and was not at Universal Amphitheatre to pick up his prizes for best male artist and his music video, song and album titled "Dance With My Father." The sentimental favorite won four Grammys last month.

The Gospel music comedy "The Fighting Temptations" won for best movie. Cuba Gooding Jr. was honored as best actor for "Radio," and Queen Latifah was named best actress for "Bringing Down the House."

Hip-hop group OutKast won for outstanding duo or group, and young R&B; star Ruben Studdard won best new artist after crooning from his seat in a performance early in the night.

Studdard thanked his grandmother for "being part of the struggle in the '60s," one of several references to politics and the civil rights movement.

Ray Charles was inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame after a tribute performance by B.B. King, Stevie Wonder and Bonnie Raitt.

"They do so much to help so many," Charles said of the NAACP. "I want you to know this is truly an honor, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart."

NAACP President Kweisi Mfume noted the importance of the upcoming presidential election, saying his organization wants to register and turn out an additional 2 million people in the November election. "If you don't vote," Mfume said, "you really don't count."

Toni Morrison won best fiction literary work for her novel "Love."


AP Photo

Singer Ray Charles, left, accepts his Hall of Fame award from presenter Quincy Jones at the NAACP Image Awards in Universal City, Calif. Saturday's awards will be broadcast at 10:30 p.m. Thursday on Fox, Sunflower Broadband Channel 4.

Special awards went to the Dave Matthews Band and T.D. Jakes, a nationally known evangelist and pastor of Dallas-based The Potter's House, one of the nation's fastest-growing churches with 59 ministries.

Comedian Bernie Mac, who won outstanding actor in a comedy series and outstanding comedy series for Fox's "The Bernie Mac Show," thanked those who supported him when he was making the rounds of comedy clubs.

"For 43 weeks a year, for 18 years, you came to see me. So when I came to television I was ready, and I thank you so much," he told the audience.

The awards by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are determined by show business professionals and NAACP officials nationwide. The ceremony will be broadcast Thursday on Fox.


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