Above: (left to right) Wendy Raquel Robinson, this year’s host; and honorees, Brandon Victor Dixon, Anika Noni Rose, and Jenifer Lewis.
The Beverly Hills/ Hollywood NAACP Branch announces this year’s host and extraordinary honorees for the 27th Annual NAACP Theatre awards being held on Monday, February 26, 2018, Millennium Biltmore Hotel, 506 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90071 at 6pm.
Returning as host for this year’s dinner show is the effervescent actress Wendy Raquel Robinson. Known for her lead role as the sexy, feisty sports manager ‘Tasha Mack’ from BET’s #1 rated scripted series, The Game as well as the no-nonsense principal ‘Regina Grier’ on the hit TV comedy “The Steve Harvey Show”. As a past recipient of a NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series”, this fellow thespian is all too familiar with the honor of being recognized for the ability to transform words from a page into multi-dimensional characters, making her a perfect host for this prestigious awards ceremony.
If her acting schedule weren’t busy enough, Ms. Robinson makes times to enrich the lives of our youth through her non-profit performing arts company, ‘Amazing Grace Conservatory’ (AGC), which recently marked 20 years of providing performance training in acting, voice and dance for youth between the ages of 5-18 who reside in South Central Los Angeles.
Dubbed a “national treasure” by TVGuide.com, Jenifer Lewis is this year’s recipient of the NAACP Lifetime Achievement Theatre Award. Her illustrious career began in Missouri but led her to New York City immediately after high school. While in NYC, she performed throughout the theatre circuit including productions like “Eubie” before she became a backup singer for Bette Midler and appearing in iconic films such as Beaches and Sister Act alongside Whoopie Goldberg. This accomplished singer has displayed her gifts on Broadway in the hit musical Hairspray as ‘Motormouth Mabel’ and at Carnegie Hall accompanied by the New York Pops Orchestra. After 40 plus years in the business, Ms. Lewis has appeared in over 300 films and television shows. Most recent movies include: The Wedding Ringer, Think Like A Man, Think Like A Man Too and Baggage Claim. She has also created unforgettable characters in Madea’s Family Reunion and Meet the Browns. In animated films, Jenifer’s uniquely recognizable voice is adored by Disney fans worldwide in roles such as “Flo” in Cars and Cars 2 and as “Mama Odie” in The Princess and the Frog. Television dramas and comedies like Strong Medicine, A Different World, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Girlfriends landed her recurring roles. Audiences can currently see her weekly in the EMMY nominated Black-ish on ABC, as the hilariously sassy ‘Ruby Johnson’ – a role that recently earned her a nomination for the 2018 Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Comedy.
Literally ‘The Mother of Black Hollywood,’ Ms. Lewis most notably depicted Tina Turner’s mother in the biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It and portrayed the mother of Whitney Houston’s character in The Preacher’s Wife. Her most recent project is her detailed memoir, aptly titled “The Mother of Black Hollywood”. Ms. Lewis’ transparency about her mental health struggles, the highs, and lows of her career and love life have made the book intriguing and a success!
Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose will be honored with the NAACP Trailblazer Theater Award. Ms. Rose is an accomplished stage, television and film actress with a commanding, yet gentle presence on stage and film. She has appeared opposite Denzel Washington in the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun. Ms. Rose held her own on the big screen opposite Beyoncé in Dreamgirls and alongside Jamie Foxx in the bio-flick Ray. This multi-talented actress gave voice to the first African-American Disney princess, ‘Princess Tiana’ in the Disney animated flick The Princess and the Frog. Currently, Ms. Rose is starring in the BET original television series, The Quad, where she plays Dr. Eva Fletcher, the newly elected college president of the fictitious Georgia A&M and also on Power as a corrupt, cop “Jukebox” airing on STARZ.
The NAACP Spirit Theatre Award will be presented to thespian and television actor Brandon Victor Dixon for his impressive body of work. Currently appearing as ‘Monster’ in the Off-Broadway production of Suzan-Lori Parks’ Fucking A, Dixon just ended his Broadway run starring in the critically acclaimed and Tony Award-winning Hamilton. He has conquered the iconic persona ‘Berry Gordy’ in Motown, The Musical; and brought the all too familiar ‘Harpo’ to the stage in the Broadway production of The Color Purple. His acting talents have also been seen on television in the daytime soap opera One Life to Live as well as nighttime dramas Law & Order: Criminal Intent and The Good Wife.
Mr. Dixon now appears on the STARZ series Power as lawyer Terry Silver. Most recently, he appeared on the 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors stage as he helped celebrate the accomplishments of Honoree Carmen de Lavallade for her excellence in dancing, choreography, acting, and teaching.
President Ron Hasson states, “This year’s show will offer a fine dining experience to our thespian enthusiasts and premier awards show honoring these deserving artists who have lit up the stage with electrifying performances.”
Other notables and gifted entertainers nominated for a 2017 NAACP Theatre Awards include Veteran actors Glynn Turman, Phylicia Rashad, Sterling K. Brown, Lillias White, Roger Robinson, Omar J. Dorsey, Frances Fisher, Karimah Westbrook, Wallace Demarria, Rebecca Wisocky, Malika Blessing and Suzan-Lori Parks.