Over the years, the NAACP Image Awards has celebrated an increasing number of LGBT movies, television shows, actors and characters.
Although there have been far more nominations than wins, there are noticeable strides. For instance, Viola Davis won the actress in a drama series Image Award for her turn as bisexual attorney Annalise Keating on “How to Get Away With Murder” in 2016. And “Moonlight,” which tracks the life of a gay boy growing up in poverty, triumphed last year with four wins, including directing and independent motion picture.
This year, openly gay actress Rutina Wesley has been nominated for actress in a drama series for her performance on OWN’s “Queen Sugar.” She will compete against Davis, nominated again in the category for her performance as Annalise Keating, and an Image Award victor last year for her supporting film turn in “Fences.” They are up against “Underground” star Jurnee Smollett-Bell, “Scandal” star Kerry Washington and last year’s victor, “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson, in the category.
Lena Waithe, the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing, is nominated for an Image Award for her work on the Netflix series “Master of None.” Waithe co-wrote the nominated episode, titled “Thanksgiving,” with show creator Aziz Ansari; it is about her own experience coming out as a lesbian to her family. She and Ansari will be competing against “Insecure” creator Issa Rae, nominated for the episodes “Hella Great” and “Hella Perspective,” along with “Claws” writer Janine Sherman Barrois and “Dear White People” creator-writer Justin Simien.
Will the shift toward open voting help or hurt LGBT nominees?
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Will the NAACP Image Awards keep evolving and give these three women wins? And will the kudocast’s move to wide-scale open voting this year help or hurt their chances?