*Held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, the 41st NAACP Image Awards was just as entertaining backstage as it was live onstage because of all the winners that were there mingling. Hosted by actress/singer Anika Noni Rose (Princess and the Frog) and actor/author Hill Harper, who won Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, the show went as planned until the end when Lee Daniels wanted to share his Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture win with Tyler Perry, executive producer on the project.
“This is my third year at the end of this season,” said actor Anthony Anderson (Law & Order). He joked about his nomination in the same category as Harper. “We’ll see if they will give it to Hill Harper…it pays to know the president. I don’t even know why I’m here …and he’s hosting too!”
Aside from Anderson, who was looking slim and trim, many of the nominees walked the press line before entering, such as Tyler James (“Everybody Hates Chris” – Outstanding Supporting Actor); CCH Pounder (“Brothers” – Outstanding Supporting Actress); winner Lance Gross (“House of Payne” – Outstanding Supporting Actor); Corey Reynolds (“The Close” – Outstanding Supporting Actor”); winner Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious” – Outstanding Actress); winner Jaishon Fisher (“Gifted Hands” – Outstanding Actor); winner Cornelius Smith, Jr. (“All My Children” – Outstanding Actor), and Eva Marcille (“The Young and the Restless” – Outstanding Actress). While others like LL Cool J, Mo’Nique, Tyler Perry, James Pickens, Jr., and Sherri Shepherd almost ran by us journalists to get early awards.
Imagine an expo, in a warehouse type structure, where in each cubicle you find NAACP Image Award winners either taking pictures or giving interviews. You may look in one to see the cast of Lincoln Heights (Outstanding Drama); Debbi Morgan (Outstanding Actress); Xzibit (Outstanding Reality Show); Keri Hilson (Outstanding New Artist); Chris Rock (Outstanding Documentary), and KeKe Palmer (Outstanding Performance).
“Every time I come here I say OK I got one (for The Wool Cap) its fine. But every time I come I just want to be…to be appreciated,” said an excited KeKe Palmer backstage after winning in her category for Outstanding Performance in the Nickelodeon sitcom “True Jackson VP.”
Keri Hilson, who performed with Wyclef, said backstage that, “it is so great to be acknowledged by my people, my culture.” She stated that in preparing for her performance with Wyclef and Santana, that included singing Spanish, she learned that the Haitian people speak 6 -7 languages.
Aired live on Fox, the 41st NAACP Image Awards’ theme this year is “One Nation, One Dream.” The event was actually a week of events leading up to the awards show, which honored the artistic achievements of people of color. The event was sponsored by Ford Motor Company, FedEx, Pepsi, UAW/Chrysler, AT & T, Bank of America, Hyundai and American Airlines.
Honors were given to Wyclef Jean (Vanguard Award), Van Jones (President’s Award), Clarence Avant (Hall of Fame) and Tyler Perry (Chairman’s Award). For video clips of the event’s red carpet arrivals and backstage action, log unto www.youtube.com/freelanceassociates or http://thepulseofentertainment.com/41snaacptimageawards.html.
Comedian/actor Peanutt’s comedy show at The Oasis is full of ‘Nutts’
*Comedian/actor Edward “Peanutt” Smith launched his weekly “Escape from the Nutt House” at The Oasis which consists of him hosting a comedy show high lighting the comedic talents of others.
“You got to know where I came from,” said Peanutt when I commented on how good he looked. “I was in a street gang, on drugs, got catch up.”
Peanutt explained that his drive to get away from that environment came from his father who started the first union for black stunt workers in Hollywood and his brother comedian/actor AJ Johnson.
“My brother’s career motivated me,” Peanutt added. “We look so much alike.”
Peanutt, best known for his appearances on BET Comic View, is a natural comedian. He has mastered the skill to the point that it was like watching the teacher introducing the students. If a comedian on the line-up used tactic and it failed and didn’t get much laughs Peanutt – the host – uses the same tactics but solicits that response the previous comedian was trying to muster. His comedy is friendly and as a result the audience, at the end of the night, was totally impressed and solely satisfied.
Peanutt’s acting credentials are impressive, as well has his comedic timing, having appeared in films such as Living the Life, Baller Blocker with Lil’ Wayne and Juvenile; The Night Watchman with Keanu Reeves and The Game; The Soloist with Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr., and This Christmas with Chris Brown. His comedy show takes him from Los Angeles to Louisiana to Miami.
“You have to be true to yourself,” he said. “Don’t let nobody tell you what you can’t do. Stay focused and whatever your talent, work on it. I love Deborah French (his label owner, along with her husband Dana French) as a person. She saw something in me. Me and her husband we went to school together, so they know my background.”
Peanutt’s “Escape from the Nutt House” is held every Thursday at The Oasis (3310 West Manchester Avenue, Los Angeles, CA). To learn more on comedian/actor Peanutt log onto www.myspace.com/peanuttcomedy.