On behalf of the NAACP
BEVERLY HILLS, CA (March 18, 2021) – Today, in a historical first, the NAACP announced that it will be awarding two recipients, NBA superstar Stephen Curry and The Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA), with the Jackie Robinson Sports Awards. Additionally, Misty Copeland will be honored with the prestigious Spingarn Medal in addition to Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony who will receive the Activist of the Year award and Madison Potts who will receive the Youth Activist of the Year award. The awards will be presented during the 52nd NAACP Image Awards Virtual Experience presented by Wells Fargo taking place March 22nd – 27th.
The week-long Virtual Experience, which will stream naacpimageawards.net will invite fans to join the Image Awards in a celebration of “Black Excellence”–including virtual red carpet, curated conversation series, a theatre featuring past performances and speeches and an after party celebration following the LIVE show airing on BET and simulcast across ViacomCBS Networks including CBS, BET Her, VH1, MTV, MTV2, and LOGO on Saturday, March 27th, 2021 at 8/7c.
The NAACP Jackie Robinson Sports Awards will be presented to both Stephen Curry and The WNBA Players Association for their high achievements in athletics in addition to their contributions in the pursuit of social justice, civil rights and community involvement. Previous recipients include Michael Jordan, Jim Brown, The Harlem Globetrotters, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Sugar Ray Leonard, Eddie Robinson, among others.
Over his 11-year career in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry has become one of the most influential stars both on and off the basketball court. He has won three NBA championships, two MVP awards, and holds seven NBA all-star selections. Off the court, he is a youth advocate recently launching Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation with his wife Ayesha Curry which seeks to unlock the potential of every child by providing underprivileged children with the fundamental resources they need to thrive in life. In addition, he collaborated with Under Armour to launch Curry Brand, a purpose-led performance brand with a mission to ensure every young person has equitable access to sport.The award will be presented to Curry by Stacey Abrams, during the virtual awards show Friday, March 26th.
Created in 1998, The Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA), is the first labor union for professional women athletes. Over the years, the WNBPA has been at the forefront of helping players advocate for social justice, most recently working with the WNBA to launch the players’ new platform called, The Justice Movement, which amplifies the voices and leadership of the players. In 2020 the WNBPA assisted with the creation of a Social Justice Council, the first of its kind in professional sports, whose mission is to be a driving force of necessary and continuing conversations about race, voting rights, LGBTQ+ advocacy, public health initiatives, and gun control amongst other important societal issues. The Players Association has also formed an external group of industry leaders, movers and shakers, known as the WNBPA Board of Advocates, to further support the advocacy, philanthropy and entrepreneurial efforts of the players. The Jackie Robinson Sports Award will be presented by Jemele Hill and accepted by WNBPA President and 2016 WNBA Most Valuable Player, Nneka Ogwumike on behalf of the dynamic and united women of The W, during the virtual awards show Thursday, March 25th.
Ballet dancer Misty Copeland will receive the prestigious Spingarn Medal, which is presented annually in recognition of the highest or noblest achievement by a living African American during the preceding year or years. Copeland made history by becoming the first African American Female Principal Dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. Throughout her career, she has worked with many charitable organizations and is dedicated to giving of her time to work with and mentor young girls and boys. In 2014, President Obama appointed Misty to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. Previous recipients of this award include: Mrs. Daisy Bates (Little Rock Nine), Jesse L. Jackson, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Earl G. Graves Sr., Oprah Winfrey, Cecily Tyson, Harry Belafonte, and Sidney Poitier. The Spingarn medal will be presented to Copelandby Susan Fales Hill, during the virtual awards show on Tuesday, March 23rd.
In a year that was marked by a surging movement of activism and activists of all ages using their voices to create change, the NAACP will recognize Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony with Activist of the Year award and Madison Potts with the Youth Activist of the Year award. Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, NAACP president of the Detroit branch, will be recognized for his tireless work over the past year helping community members in Detroit combat the COVID-19 crisis, protect their voting rights, and fight for social justice. Madison Potts will be recognized for her exemplary work in Georgia, as an organizer with voter education and registration in the primary election, general election, and 2020 GA Senate runoff election.
The NAACP Image Awards additionally announced the full line-up of events taking place virtually from March 22nd-27th. In the week leading up to the LIVE broadcast of the show, the NAACP Image Awards will launch a Virtual Experience presented by Wells Fargo, which will invite fans into a curated “Black Excellence” experience right from the comfort of their own home. The experience will include:
- The non-televised awards program which will include a pre-awards show hosted by Entertainment Tonight’s Nischelle Turner and celebrity presenters Nicole Beharie, the cast of BET’s Bigger, Tamar Braxton, Damson Idris, Daymond John, Leslie Jones, Javicia Leslie, Madalen Mills, MAJOR., Method Man, Retta & Reno Wilson (from Good Girls), Marcus Scribner, JB Smoove, Terrence Terrell, Susan Kelechi Watson and CeCe Winans.
- Virtual red carpet hosted by Tanika Ray.
- A conversation and panel series with the NAACP Hollywood Bureau featuring Miles Brown and President Derrick Johnson.
- The Our Stories, Our Culture program including “A Conversation With…” presented by Ford Motor Company which will salute to Essential Workers as well as a web series called Fashion Pull-Up hosted by celebrity wardrobe stylists, GooGoo Atkins and Apuje Kalu which will explore the most-notable fashion moments from the NAACP Image Awards’ red carpet.
- The NAACP Theatre which will showcase past Image Awards’ performances and speeches. Additionally all content that airs in the Virtual Experience throughout the week will be made available on demand the next day in the theatre.
- A virtual photo booth and selfie station, where fans can take a photo with their personal device and post to their social media platforms.
- Post-gala Afterparty immediately following the live broadcast on BET which will feature classic cuts by DJ Questlove, current cuts by DJ Kiss, and a Jazz Lounge performance by Robert Glasper and Lalah Hathaway.
Attendees can RSVP/pre-register for the 52nd NAACP Image Awards Virtual Experience at naacpimageawards.net.
The 52nd NAACP Image Awards is presented by Wells Fargo, and sponsored by AT&T, FedEx, Nike, Bank of America, American Airlines, Airbnb, Ford, and Alaska Airlines.
The NAACP Image Awards honors the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature, and film and also recognizes individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.
For all information and the latest news, please follow NAACP Image Awards on Instagram @NAACPImageAwards.