Angela Bassett did the thing — and she knows it. One of the most prestigious awards handed out at the NAACP Image Awards is entertainer of the year, and in 2023 the competition was stiff thanks to a list of nominees stacked with talented women. While Bassett, Mary J. Blige, Quinta Brunson, Viola Davis, and Zendaya were all nominated, Bassett was named the winner for her iconic career in film and television. She also won best actress in a drama series for her work in the Fox series “911.”
Bassett kicked off her speech by acknowledging the viral BAFTA song by Ariana DeBose that had everyone singing her name over the past week. “I guess Angela Bassett did the thing!” she said as the crowd erupted in applause. The “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” actor went on to acknowledge the many Black women who have inspired her over the course of her career before thanking the NAACP for honoring her.
“There were other moments that assured me I was living my purpose,” she said after discussing some of her most famous films, including “Waiting to Exhale” and “How Stella Got Her Grove Back.” “Gratitude is the universe’s way of saying we are not existing in this world alone. Thank you.”
Bassett is in good company. Past winners of the entertainer of the year award include Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson, Whitney Huston, Jamie Foxx, and Lizzo. Being named entertainer of the year is a major honor that speaks to the contributions the winner has made to the world of entertainment.
Among the many career highlights served up by the class of 2023 is Brunson reviving the network sitcom with her Emmy-winning work as the star, creator, and head writer of “Abbott Elementary”; Davis becoming the 18th person to add EGOT winner to her long list of achievements thanks to her Tony Award–winning performance of her memoir, “Finding Me”; Bassett’s groundbreaking work in “The Woman King”; Zendaya winning her second Emmy for her emotional portrayal of Rue on HBO’s “Euphoria”; and Blige continuing to be a musical trailblazer with her latest album, “Good Morning Gorgeous.”