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The 53rd NAACP Image Awards celebrate excellence on Feb. 26

A purple and green background and a silver statue. The words 53rd NAACP Image Awards appear.
NAACP Image Awards
Logo for 53rd NAACP Image Awards

The Beverly Hills/Hollywood Branch of the NAACP was founded in 1962 and heralded as the first branch of the NAACP to specifically address racism experienced by African Americans in the entertainment industry.

In 1967, a NAACP committee of entertainment professionals conceptualized an awards show that would celebrate the achievements of African-American artists and professionals, who were largely overlooked by mainstream Hollywood. The show would also honor people who work to change African-American images in Hollywood. They called it The Image Awards, and their first honoree was Sidney Poitier.

Now grown to 76 categories, including awards for social media personalities, podcasts, literary works and social justice impact, the Image Awards start with a weeklong list of events, live and virtual, and culminate in the televised awards show on BET at 8 p.m. Feb. 26.

This year, nominees for Outstanding Instrumental Jazz Album include harpist Brandee Younger's Somewhere Different, saxophonist Kenny Garrett's Sounds from the Ancestors, and pianist Orrin Evans' The Magic of Now.

Outstanding Vocal Jazz Album nominees include Jazzmeia Horn's Dear Love, The Baylor Project's Be A Light, and Freda Payne's Let There Be Love.

Nominations for Outstanding Motion Picture include "Respect," the Aretha Franklin biopic, and "The United States vs. Billie Holiday." Actresses Jennifer Hudson and Andra Day are both nominated for Outstanding Actress awards for those films, and Hudson is nominated for Entertainer of the Year.

"Respect" is also nominated for Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture. "The United States vs. Billie Holiday" is nominated for Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album.

Questlove's "Summer of Soul" documentary is nominated for Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Motion Picture).

SUMMER OF SOUL | Official Trailer | In Theaters and on Hulu July 2

Not all Image Award categories are open for public voting, but you can see them here.

Congratulations to all of this year's Image Award nominees!

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.