Quinta Brunson, pictured in January, won Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Abbott Elementary won big Saturday night at the NAACP Image Awards ceremony, while Black Panther and 9-1-1 star Angela Bassett took home Entertainer of the Year.
Abbott Elementary was named Outstanding Comedy Series, and stars Quinta Brunson, Tyler James Williams and Janelle James picked up acting awards for their work on the show.
Brunson, the show's creator and producer, thanked the other shows nominated in the category for paving the way for the new series.
"There is nothing like winning an NAACP award," she said. "We're happy that we get to make a show that is accessible to everyone, for and by us."
Brunson was also nominated for the biggest award of the night -- Entertainer of the Year, which ultimately went to Bassett.
She described the award as a "wonderful gift." She also won Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for her role in 9-1-1. She thanked creator Ryan Murphy, show also worked with the actor in American Horror Story.
"It's been six years, and we're still standing strong," Bassett said, "so, I'm thankful to him for seeing me and believing in my contribution to the show."
Bassett also won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which won Outstanding Motion Picture. Director Ryan Coogler paid homage to Chadwick Boseman, the late star of the first Blank Panther film.
"We lost a giant, and he left a giant void in our hearts," Coogler said. "But we gained an ancestor, and he's with us every day, motivating us.
Another Entertainer of the Year nominee, Viola Davis won Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for her role in The Woman King. She called the film her "magnum opus" and quoted a line from the film about bravery.
"I never want to not be brave enough, as a woman, as a Black woman, as an artist," Davis said, adding that the film was "nothing but high-octane bravery."
Will Smith won Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for his role in Emancipation. He didn't attend the ceremony.
Nicco Annan won Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for his role in P-Valley, which also won Outstanding Drama Series.
"I want to dedicate this to [those who] did not have space to be themselves," Annan said in his acceptance speech.
Fellow P-Valley star Loretta Devine also picked up the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
Actor, singer and producer Queen Latifah hosted the 54th annual awards show at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in California.
She opened the show with brief renditions of "I'm Gonna Live Til I Die," "Ladies First" and Lizzo's "About Damn Time."
Early in the show, Queen Latifah welcomed Brittney Griner and her wife, Cherelle Griner, to the stage, weeks after the WNBA star was released from prison by Russian authorities.
"I want to thank everyone, and let's keep fighting to bring home every American detained overseas," Brittney Griner said.
Tennis star Serena Williams was named the recipient of the Jackie Robinson Sports Award, which is given to an athlete who also fights for social justice and gives back to their community. She said she was "humbled" to be among past winners of the award, including LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
"Together, we are a team of trailblazers and represent what is possible when you truly believe in yourself," Williams said.
NAACP National Board of Directors Chairman Leon W. Russell announced U.S. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., as the winner of the Chairman's Award. Thompson is perhaps best known recently as the chairman of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2001, attack on the Capitol.
"I accept this honor because it's something that I take as a privilege to serve, but for me and all of you here, our work is still undone," Thompson said.
Attorney Benjamin Crump received the Social Justice Impact Award for his work representing the families of victims of police violence, including Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and George Floyd.
Actor Gabrielle Union and NBA star Dwyane Wade received the President's Award for their work advocating for LGBTQ rights in honor of their transgender daughter, Zaya Wade.
Speaking directly to Zaya during his acceptance speech, Dwyane Wade said, "my role is to be a facilitator to your hopes, your wishes and your dreams."
"Zaya, you've made me a better human just simply by being who you were born to be."
The winners of several categories were announced ahead of Saturday's televised show, including Cedric the Entertainer, who won Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for The Neighborhood.
Cliff "Method Man" Smith won Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Power Book II: Ghost, and Loretta Devine won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for P-Valley.
The Best Man: The Final Chapters won Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special, as well as Outstanding Actor in the same category for Morris Chestnut and Outstanding Supporting Actress for Nia Long.
Niecy Nash-Betts was Outstanding Actress in the category for her role in Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.