Lizzo was named entertainer of the year, while Just Mercy won best motion picture, best actor and best supporting actor at the NAACP Image Awards, which recognises entertainers of colour.
“We are such a beautiful people, this is just a reminder of all the beautiful things that we can do,” said Lizzo as she accepted the night’s final and biggest award, leaping and dancing off the stage at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
Host Anthony Anderson opened the show with a monologue that took a shot at the lack of diversity at the Oscars and Hollywood’s other awards ceremonies.
“Unlike other awards shows, we actually have black nominees,” Anderson said. He may well have been talking about Just Mercy, the acclaimed film that was snubbed by the Oscars, Golden Globes and other ceremonies in the awards season.
Michael B Jordan won best actor in a motion picture for his role as a crusading defence attorney in the film, and Jamie Foxx won best supporting actor for his role as the wrongly convicted man he fought for.
“This project is a lot bigger than me. It’s about every person that’s wrongfully convicted and sitting in a jail cell right now,” Jordan said as he accepted the award.
Foxx won his fifth career Image Award for his role in Just Mercy, saying: “Thank you so much, black people, African-Americans, and everything else we are.”
He added: “It’s always great to get it from black folks because we are so talented.”
Lupita Nyong’o won best actress in a film for her role in Us, and 15-year Marsai Martin won best supporting actress for her role in Little over superstar names including Jennifer Lopez, Janelle Monee and Octavia Spencer.
“Thank you to all the beautiful black girls out there who inspire me every day,” Martin said.
Rihanna received the NAACP President’s Award for special achievement and distinguished public service. She called for racial, religious and cultural unity during her acceptance speech.
“If there’s anything that I’ve learned, it’s that we can only fix this world together,” Rihanna said. “We can’t do it divided. Tell your friends to pull up.”
She added: “We’ve been denied opportunities since the beginning of time, and still we prevail… Imagine what we can do if we do it together.”