Singer and actress Jennifer Hudson took home the biggest award of the night, Entertainer of the Year, at the 53rd NAACP Image Awards, airing Saturday on BET.

The 40-year-old American Idol alumna accepted the award in person and thanked the NAACP for recognizing her work. The Respect star also nabbed the award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture.

“I did not see this coming by any means, but Lord knows I’m grateful,” she said in her acceptance speech.

Joining her in the winner’s circle for top awards of the night was actor, producer and writer Issa Rae, who won Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for Insecure. The show, which was created by Rae, took home the award for Outstanding Comedy Series.

Will Smith accepted the Outstanding Actor Award for his role as Richard Williams in the biographical drama, King Richard. The film, which is based on the life story of Serena and Venus Williams’ father, is also a six-time Oscar nominee.

Host Anthony Anderson, who nabbed his eighth win for the show black-ish, introduced Mary J. Blige who serenaded the virtual audience in a mid-show performance.

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson presented the most prestigious accolade of the night, the President’s Award, to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said they were “humbled to be here” after accepting the award on stage.

The Chairman’s Award went to actor Samuel L. Jackson, while The New York Times’ award-winning investigative reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones proudly accepted the Social Justice Impact Award.

The coveted Outstanding Motion Picture Award was won by the Black Western film, The Harder They Fall.

Here are the night’s big winners. For a full list of winners, visit

Outstanding Actor in Drama Series
Sterling K Brown, This Is Us

Outstanding Actress in Drama Series
Angela Bassett, 9-1-1

Chairman’s Award
Samuel L. Jackson

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series
Issa Rae, Insecure

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

Social Justice Impact Award
Nikole Hannah-Jones

Outstanding Comedy Series

President’s Award
Prince Harry & Meghan Markle

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Jennifer Hudson, Respect

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
Will Smith, King Richard

Outstanding Motion Picture
The Harder They Fall

Entertainer of the Year
Jennifer Hudson


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