NAACP Image Awards, Black But Not Colored Enough

Gina Rodriguez was overlooked
at 46th NAACP Image Awards
The nominations were announced on December 9, 2014, for the 46th NAACP Image Awards. Earlier this year, an article was posted about how the awards had quite a few white nominees, which prompted concerns and questions about how the organization worked and if it was living up to the right purpose.

This is not the case this year. Film and television in 2014 exploded with black talent, which is reflected in the nominees being practically all-black and little to no white people listed, but black wasn't the only color exploding either.

The NAACP stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. During its inception, "colored people" was a euphemism for blacks or Negroes. Yet, there are other minorities, which the NAACP has helped and honored. Latinos, Native Americans, Indians, Middle Easterners, Asians and Pacific Islanders are all minorities to be recognized as well.

Yet, with the exception of Mindy Kaling who is of Indian-descent, Sofía Vergara who is of Colombian-descent and Guillermo Díaz who is of Cuban-descent, the nominations for the 46th NAACP Image Awards don't recognize any faces other than black ones, which is a shame because there's so many other colored people out there.

Outstanding Comedy Series, its nominees are Orange is the New Black (Netflix), Black-ish (ABC), House of Lies (Showtime), Key & Peele (Comedy Central) and Real Husbands of Hollywood (BET). The Netflix series is the only one with a truly diverse cast. All the other shows are predominantly black. It's a shame because it totally overlooks a critically-acclaimed and highly successful, new series called Jane the Virgin, which has a wealth of Hispanic and Latino talent, including the amazing Gina Rodriguez who is a proud Puerto Rican.

While her show might not be the best, Cristela Alonzo who is of Mexican-descent should have been recognized by the NAACP too. His show was canceled, but John Cho who is Korean starred in ABC's Selfie and he was absolutely fantastic on that show. His absence from the NAACP list is a complete snub.

Even though Black-ish is a show that I don't begrudge, its half-dozen nominations are a bit much. Survivor's Remorse on Starz was a black sitcom that should be getting more accolades than the zero it's getting now, but, sadly, Black-ish is sucking all the oxygen out the room. At the same time, it's also taking up space that could have gone to other shows and other minorities who are just as good.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy, its nominees are Boris Kodjoe, Glynn Turman, Laurence Fishburne, Marcus Scribner and Terry Crews. Fishburne and Scribner are both from Black-ish. Aziz Ansari who is of Indian-descent and who was nominated last year for Parks and Recreation got snubbed this year. Yet, other possible Southeast Asian actors who were also overlooked in this category was Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) who is of Indian-descent, as well as Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) who is Pakistani.

Outstanding Drama Series, its nominees are Being Mary Jane, Grey's Anatomy, House of Cards, How to Get Away with Murder and Scandal. These shows all have diverse casts. Yet, aside from Guillermo Díaz from Scandal, the actors and actresses nominated in the subsequent categories don't reflect that.

Ashraf Barhom in FX's "Tyrant"
Some actors in the Drama category who aren't black but who should be recognized by the NAACP include Jon Huertas (Castle) who is Puerto Rican, Ashraf Barhom (Tyrant) who is Israeli, Frankie J. Álvarez (Looking) who is of Cuban-descent, past nominee Lucy Liu (Elementary) who is of Chinese descent, Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) who is of Chinese descent and Monica Raymund (Chicago Fire) who is half-Dominican.

This year, the Image Awards seems to have eliminated its acting categories dedicated to Daytime Drama. This is a shame because several, non-black minorities popped up this year who have been doing a great job. Jeffrey Vincent Parise (General Hospital) plays Carlos Rivera, a mob enforcer from Puerto Rico. Parry Shen (General Hospital) is of Chinese descent and plays Brad Cooper, a horny lab manager, and Christopher Sean (Days of Our Lives) is half-Japanese and plays Paul Narita, a closeted baseball pitcher.

Outstanding Motion Picture, its nominees are Belle, Beyond the Lights, Dear White People, Get On Up and Selma. All these movies are great films that I don't begrudge being nominated, but they're all black centric, which is fine. Yet, there was an over-looking of other minorities on the silver screen.

Alfred Molina who is half-Spanish could have been recognized for Love is Strange. Michael Peña is of Mexican-descent and should have been recognized for Cesar Chavez. Other possible nominees include Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler) who is of Pakistani descent, Cheng Pei-pei (Lilting) who is Chinese, Oscar Isaac (A Most Violent Year) who is Guatemalan, Paulina García (Gloria) who is Chilean, Gael García Bernal (Rosewater) who is Mexican, Sheila Vand (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night) who is of Iranian descent, Gabriel Iglesias (The Fluffy Movie) who is of Mexican descent, Sendhil Ramamurthy (Brahmin Bulls) who is of Indian descent and Adam Bakri (Omar) who is Palestinian.

Again, I respect all the nominees listed, but I wish the organizers had thought about the other minorities out there on the film and TV landscape who helped make 2014 one of the most diverse years in entertainment in a while. The 46th NAACP Image Awards will air Friday, February 6, 2015 at 9PM on TV One.


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