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NAACP Image Awards: Will Smith, Cicely Tyson Memoirs Win on Night One

Nikole Hannah-Jones’ ”1619 Project“ also recognized on first night of awards

The late Cecily Tyson and “King Richard” Oscar nominee Will Smith were among the honorees on night one of the 53rd NAACP Image Awards in the non-televised award categories, which included literary, podcast, and youth activist of the year awards.

Tyson’s memoir, “Just As I Am,” was published in Jan. 6, 2021, just three weeks before her death at age 96. Smith also picked up an award for his book, “Will,’ while Nikole Hannah-Jones’ “The 1619 Project:  A New Origin Story” was named Outstanding Nonfiction Literary Work, Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams won for her children’s book, “Stacey’s Extraordinary Words,” and sportscaster Jemele Hill won two awards for her podcast.

The week-long 53rd NAACP Image Awards Virtual Experience runs from February 21 to 25 at naacpimageawards.net.

Here are all of Monday night’s winners:

Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction “ Long Division” – Kiese Laymon

Outstanding Literary Work – Non-Fiction “The 1619 Project:  A New Origin Story” – Nikole Hannah-Jones

Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author “Just As I Am”  – Cicely Tyson

Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/ Autobiography“ Will”- Will Smith

Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional “Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business)” – Tabitha Brown

Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry “Perfect Black”- Crystal Wilkinson

Outstanding Literary Work – Children “Stacey’s Extraordinary Words” – Stacey Abrams, Kitt Thomas

Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens “Ace of Spades” – Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Outstanding Podcast – News and Information: Blindspot: “Tulsa Burning”

Outstanding Podcast – Arts and Entertainment “Jemele Hill is Unbothered”

Outstanding Podcast – Society and Culture “Jemele Hill is Unbothered” 

Outstanding Podcast – Lifestyle / Self-Help “Two Funny Mamas” – Sherri Shepherd & Kym Whitley 

Special Award: Youth Activist of The Year, Channing Hill, NAACP Chapter President of Howard University

The “53rd NAACP Image Awards,” hosted by Anthony Anderson, will air Saturday, Feb. 26 at 8:00 PM ET/ 5:00 PM PT on BET, featuring a performance by Mary J. Blige.