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Mary J. Blige Covers W Magazine

For W*’s Art Issue, Mary J. Blige and Carrie Mae Weems teamed up to talk, and to make pictures that pay homage to Blige’s continuing reign and Weems’s The Kitchen Table Series and 2010 Slow Fade to Black series. They met recently in a ­landmark 1920s-era bank building in Brooklyn and enjoyed a conversation that covered the gamut, from the portrayal of African-Americans in the media, their upbringing, being strong women in male-dominated worlds, and their new projects, including Blige’s excellent album Strength of a Woman, and her upcoming role in Dee Rees’s critically acclaimed Mudbound. The pictures and their conversation make clear that Weems and Blige both command the spaces they occupy: Weems with her camera and incantatory style of speech, Blige with her presence and voice.

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Photographs by Carrie Mae Weems; Styled by Styled by Paul Cavaco. Hair by Kim Kimble for Kimble Hair Care Systems at SixK.LA; makeup by D’Andre Michael for U.G.L.Y. Girl Cosmetics. Set design by Kadu Lennox at Frank Reps. Produced by Carly Day at Rosco Production; Production Coordinator: Marie Robinson at Rosco Production; retouching by silhouette studio; Lighting Director: Rob Kassabian at Honey Artists; Photography Assistants: James Wang, Pamela Vander Zwan, Adger Cowans; Lighting Assistant: David Schinman; Gaffer: Armando Reyes; Fashion Assistants: EJ Briones, nicholas eftaxias; Tailor: Christy Rilling; Set Design Coordinator: Joanna Seitz; Production Assistants: Will Foster, Alejandro Armas, Carl Miller; Special thanks to Dienst + Dotter Antikviteter, Skylight Studios, Pier59 Locations.

Mary J. Blige and Carrie Mae Weems in Conversation: On Race, Women, Music and the Future

Long before female empowerment became a nationwide rallying cry, the artist Carrie Mae Weems and the singer-songwriter Mary J. Blige had their work cut out for them. Weems, who is now 64, first picked up a camera at the age of 18 and over the decades has recast the ways in which black women have been ­portrayed in images. Early on she realized that she couldn’t count on others to make the pictures she wanted to see. In her seminal work The Kitchen Table Series (1990), she ruminates on race, class, and gender in an unfolding domestic story in which she appears as the protagonist. Shot in black and white, with alternating images and panels of text, the series shows the artist at her kitchen table, alone and with others, seated under a hanging lamp, playing cards, chatting with female friends, and hugging a male partner.

Since that career-defining project, Weems, who lives in Syracuse, New York, has been honored with a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” a medal of arts from the U.S. State Department, and numerous museum solo shows, including a retrospective in 2014 at New York’s Guggenheim—the museum’s first-ever survey of an African-American female artist. More recently, in her 2016 series Scenes & Take, she photographed herself standing on the empty stage sets of such TV shows as Empire and Scandal, contemplating the cultural climate that gives rise to commanding black heroines onscreen.

In Mary J. Blige, the queen of hip-hop soul, best known for her raw, openly autobiographical songs of empowerment, Weems found a towering ally. Like Weems, the Bronx-born Blige, 46, is a storyteller, and also began her career at 18, when she became the youngest female recording artist to sign with Uptown Records. Her Puff Daddy–produced 1992 debut, What’s the 411?, went multiplatinum, as did many of the hits that followed; so far she’s won nine Grammys. Now she is generating Oscar buzz for her breakout performance in director Dee Rees’s critically acclaimed Mudbound, about two families in the Mississippi Delta during and after World War II, divided by the racism of their Klan-addled community.

Blige is quietly devastating as the wife of a sharecropper and matriarch of a struggling brood; while shooting the film, which will debut on November 17 on Netflix, Blige was dealing with the dissolution of her own marriage. In 2016 she filed for divorce from her husband of 12 years and manager, and emerged with her 13th studio album, Strength of a Woman, which serves as something of an anthem for her life. the New York Times called it “her most affecting and wounded album in several years.”

Both Weems and Blige command the spaces they occupy: Weems with her camera and incantatory style of speech, Blige with her presence and voice. For this project for W’s Art Issue, the two teamed up in a ­landmark 1920s-era bank building in Brooklyn, ­making pictures that reference Weems’s The Kitchen Table Series and 2010 Slow Fade to Black series, and Blige’s continuing reign.

Carrie Mae Weems:
Long before I picked up a camera I was deeply concerned with the ways in which ­African-Americans were depicted, and, for the most part, I didn’t like what I saw. So one way of dealing with it was to step in and rethink how black women, more specifically, need to be represented. That’s been the guidepost; I’m always on that track. And today I was just looking at another woman, somebody I’ve admired, whose music has been a backdrop to my life. Mary, I see you as an extraordinarily beautiful woman who needs to be defined, described, articulated in an authentic way that celebrates the complexity and depths of your beauty and your internal self. From the moment you walked in, I wanted to greet you personally and invite you into a space of welcome with the understanding that I see me and you.

Mary J. Blige: Thank you. Same here. A lot of women don’t do that. I don’t see women getting along a lot. In my own circle, I see it because that’s what we do. We want to love on each other, and we want to build each other up, and we want to let each other know what you said just now: We see each other, and we see each other in each other. So I felt protected today, and I felt you cared, which is not always the case in most photo shoots—they just want the pictures. I thought, Okay, I’m going to have to do exactly what she did in order to make this hot. [Both laugh.]

Weems: Those last photographs! Child! I mean, that puppy was smokin’. It felt like the whole day we were ascending. I’m not in the commercial world—I spend 99 percent of my time in my studio by myself—so we were building each thing like interlocking circles so we could go to the next plane. I could feel it coming into a certain kind of flow, and then it became easy. And I thought, Let’s just have fun. There’s a ­wonderful saying: “Within seriousness there’s very little room for play, but within play there’s tremendous room for seriousness.”

Blige: I didn’t realize how vain I was until I started working on Mudbound. Once I saw how my character, Florence, lived [in a shack on a farm in Mississippi], I thought, Wow, I’m really a vain person. When I went to the movie set to do the first day of fittings, I was Mary J. Blige: I had just done a tour and a show, so I was all, you know, I had wigs and weaves and all sorts of things going on, and Dee Rees was like, “No! We want to see you. You can’t have a perm, you’re going to have minimal, minimal makeup.” And I was like, “What about lashes?” And she said no, and I was like, “Really? Florence doesn’t have lashes?” That part was a lot! A lot! But once I tore away and sunk into the character, Florence actually gave Mary—me, the so-vain person—a little more confidence so that Mary didn’t feel like she needed to depend on all of that. I cut my hair really short. Florence really liberated me. Just committing to and trusting that character kind of helped to save my life. I could also relate to her because she reminded me of my aunts and my grandmother who lived in the South. My mom used to send us to Savannah every summer. My grandmother had her own garden, chickens, cows; so I’ve seen chickens slaughtered, I’ve been on a farm.

Weems: You have this film, this history in music. Where do you see yourself going, and what do you want now?

Blige: I want, at some point, to not have to work so hard. I want peace of mind and acceptance of self, totally. I know that’s an ongoing process, so every single day I’m working on that, and it’s been hard ever since this challenge I’m having with this divorce. It was such a terrible thing. It made me see myself as “I have to be better than this”: I was never good enough; I was never pretty enough, smart enough. And there was someone chosen over me. It was like, I can’t stay, but it really let me see, Mary, you are better than that. You have to continue to grow.

Weems: We’ve all been through stuff. And the pain is so deep, but the place it takes you—right? The level of self-reflection—it’s all in the process. Working through that process brings you to a deeper and more profound understanding of who you are and your meaning to yourself.

Blige: Exactly.

Weems: I’m older than you. I work hard every day, and I’m always trying to figure out how not to. But there’s something that’s a part of my DNA that’s about this constant, persistent level of examination. I’m always thinking about the craft, the art, about how to step in, not for the world, but for myself; these are the issues that concern me, and I can’t expect anybody else to deliver on my promise. Right? We were talking about this earlier. No matter what, you’re going to come home by yourself.

Blige: That’s done right now. I’m by myself.

Weems: Mary, I was telling you earlier about this beautiful image I have of [singer] Dinah Washington, who, too, is crowned. The act of crowning is about giving it up, it’s the act of recognition. For this project, I knew that I had to participate in crowning you as a gift and an homage. You are in it, and leading the way. Checkmate.

Blige: Checkmate, yeah!

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Celebs

Full List: NAACP Image Awards Nominations!

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The 2021 NAACP Image Awards will air on March 27 at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on CBS and BET, following five nights of non-televised categories streaming from March 22-26.

Special Awards

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

D-Nice
Viola Davis
Regina King
Trevor Noah
Tyler Perry

SOCIAL JUSTICE IMPACT

April Ryan
Debbie Allen
Lebron James
Stacey Abrams
Tamika Mallory

Television and Streaming

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
#blackAF
Black-ish
grown-ish
Insecure
The Last O.G.

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Cedric The Entertainer, The Neighborhood
Don Cheadle, Black Monday
Idris Elba, In the Long Run
Tracy Morgan, The Last O.G.

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Issa Rae, Insecure
Folake Olowofoyeku, Bob Hearts Abishola
Regina Hall, Black Monday
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
Yara Shahidi, Grown-ish

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Deon Cole, Black-ish
Jay Ellis, Insecure
Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live
Laurence Fishburne, Black-ish

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Jenifer Lewis, Black-ish
Marsai Martin, Black-ish
Natasha Rothwell, Insecure
Tichina Arnold, The Neighborhood
Yvonne Orji, Insecure

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES

All Rise
Bridgerton
Lovecraft Country
Power Book II: Ghost
This Is Us

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Jonathan Majors, Lovecraft Country
Keith David, Greenleaf
Nicco Annan, P-Valley
Regé-Jean Page, Bridgerton
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Angela Bassett, 9-1-1
Brandee Evans, P-Valley
Jurnee Smollett, Lovecraft Country
Simone Missick, All Rise
Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Clifford “Method Man” Smith, Power Book II: Ghost
Delroy Lindo, The Good Fight
J. Alphonse Nicholson, P-Valley
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld
Michael Kenneth Williams, Lovecraft Country

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Adjoa Andoh, Bridgerton
Aunjanue Ellis, Lovecraft Country
Lynn Whitfield, Greenleaf
Mary J. Blige, Power Book II: Ghost
Susan Kelechi Watson, This Is Us

OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIE, LIMITED-SERIES OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL

Hamilton
Little Fires Everywhere
Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker
Sylvie’s Love
The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE, LIMITED-SERIES OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL

Blair Underwood, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker
Chris Rock, Fargo
Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton
Nnamdi Asomugha, Sylvie’s Love

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION MOVIE, LIMITED-SERIES OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL

Aunjanue Ellis, The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel
Kerry Washington, Little Fires Everywhere
Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You
Octavia Spencer, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker
Tessa Thompson, Sylvie’s Love

OUTSTANDING NEWS/INFORMATION (SERIES OR SPECIAL)

AM Joy: Remembering John Lewis Special
Desus & Mero: The Obama Interview
The Color of Covid
The New York Times Presents “The Killing of Breonna Taylor”
The Reidout

OUTSTANDING TALK SERIES

Red Table Talk
Tamron Hall
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
The Oprah Conversation
The Shop: Uninterrupted

OUTSTANDING REALITY PROGRAM/REALITY COMPETITION SERIES/GAME SHOW

Celebrity Family Feud
Iyanla: Fix My Life
Shark Tank
United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell
Voices of Fire

OUTSTANDING VARIETY (SERIES OR SPECIAL)

8:46
Black Is King
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion
VERZUZ
Yvonne Orji: Momma I Made It!

OUTSTANDING CHILDREN’S PROGRAM

Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices
Craig of the Creek
Family Reunion
Raven’s Home
We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A YOUTH (SERIES, SPECIAL, TELEVISION MOVIE OR LIMITED-SERIES)

Alex R. Hibbert, The Chi
Lexi Underwood, Little Fires Everywhere
Lyric Ross, This Is Us
Marsai Martin, Black-ish
Miles Brown, Black-ish

OUTSTANDING HOST IN A TALK OR NEWS/INFORMATION (SERIES OR SPECIAL) – INDIVIDUAL OR ENSEMBLE

Don Lemon, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon
Jada Pinkett Smith, Red Table Talk
Joy Reid, The Reidout
LeBron James, The Shop: Uninterrupted
Trevor Noah, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

OUTSTANDING HOST IN A REALITY/REALITY COMPETITION, GAME SHOW OR VARIETY (SERIES OR SPECIAL) – INDIVIDUAL OR ENSEMBLE

Alfonso Ribeiro, America’s Funniest Home Videos
Iyanla Vanzant, Iyanla: Fix My Life
Steve Harvey, Celebrity Family Feud
W. Kamau Bell, United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell
RuPaul, RuPaul’s Drag Race

OUTSTANDING GUEST PERFORMANCE – COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES

Chris Rock, Saturday Night Live
Courtney B. Vance, Lovecraft Country
Dave Chappelle, Saturday Night Live
Issa Rae, Saturday Night Live
Loretta Devine, P-Valley

OUTSTANDING ANIMATED SERIES

Big Mouth
Central Park
Doc McStuffins
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
Star Trek: Lower Decks

OUTSTANDING CHARACTER VOICE-OVER PERFORMANCE (TELEVISION)

Aisha Tyler, Archer
Courtney B. Vance, Hollywood’s Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story
Dawnn Lewis, Star Trek: Lower Decks
Deon Cole, Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts
Laya DeLeon Hayes, Doc McStuffins

OUTSTANDING SHORT FORM SERIES – COMEDY OR DRAMA

#FreeRayshawn
CripTales
Lazor Wulf
Mapleworth Murders
Sincerely, Camille

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE IN A SHORT FORM SERIES

Giancarlo Esposito, The Broken and the Bad
J.B. Smoove, Mapleworth Murders
Jasmine Cephas Jones, #FreeRayshawn
Laurence Fishburne, #FreeRayshawn
Stephan James, #FreeRayshawn

OUTSTANDING SHORT FORM SERIES – REALITY/NONFICTION

American Masters – Unladylike2020
Benedict Men
Between The Scenes – The Daily Show
In The Making
Inspire Change Series

OUTSTANDING BREAKTHROUGH CREATIVE (TELEVISION)

Katori Hall, P-Valley
Keith Knight, Woke
Ramy Youssef, Ramy
Raynelle Swilling, Cherish the Day
Teri Schaffer, Cherish the Day

Recording

OUTSTANDING NEW ARTIST

Chika
Doja Cat
D Smoke
Giveon
Skip Marley

OUTSTANDING MALE ARTIST

Big Sean
Black Thought
Charlie Wilson
Drake
John Legend

OUTSTANDING FEMALE ARTIST

Beyoncé
H.E.R.
Jazmine Sullivan
Ledisi
Alicia Keys

OUTSTANDING MUSIC VIDEO/VISUAL ALBUM

“I Can’t Breathe” – H.E.R.
“Anything For You” – Ledisi
Black is King, Beyoncé
“Brown Skin Girl” – Beyoncé feat. WizKid, SAINt JHN and Blu Ivy Carter
“Do It” – Chloe x Halle

OUTSTANDING ALBUM

Alicia, Alicia Keys
b7, Brandy
Bigger Love, John Legend
Chilombo, Jhené Aiko
The Wild Card, LEDISI

OUTSTANDING SOUNDTRACK/COMPILATION ALBUM

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Music from the Netflix Film)
Insecure: Music from the HBO Original Series
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Soul Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
The First Ladies of Gospel: The Clark Sisters Biopic Soundtrack

OUTSTANDING GOSPEL/CHRISTIAN ALBUM

Chosen Vessel, Marvin Sapp
Gospel According to PJ, PJ Morton
I Am, Koryn Hawthorne
Kierra, Kierra Sheard
The Return, The Clark Sisters

OUTSTANDING GOSPEL/CHRISTIAN SONG

“All in His Plan” – PJ Morton
“Never Lost” – CeCe Winans
“Something Has To Break” – Kierra Sheard feat. Tasha Cobbs-Leonard
“Strong God” – Kirk Franklin
“Touch from You” – Tamela Mann

OUTSTANDING JAZZ ALBUM – INSTRUMENTAL

Be Water, Christian Sands
Music From and Inspired By Soul, Jon Batiste
Omega, Immanuel Wilkins
Reciprocity, George Burton
The Iconoclast, Barry Stephenson

OUTSTANDING JAZZ ALBUM – VOCAL

Donny Duke and Wonder, Nathan Mitchell
Holy Room – Live at Alte Oper, Somi
Pulling Off The Covers, Mike Phillips
Stronger, Jeff Bradshaw
The Eddy (From The Netflix Original Series), The Eddy

OUTSTANDING SOUL/R&B SONG

“I Can’t Breathe” – H.E.R.
“Anything For You” – LEDISI
“B.S.” – Jhené Aiko feat. H.E.R.
“Black Parade” – Beyoncé
“Do It” – Chloe x Halle

OUTSTANDING HIP-HOP/RAP SONG

“Deep Reverence” – Big Sean feat. Nipsey Hussle
“Savage Remix” – Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyoncé
“Cool Off” – Missy Elliott
“Laugh Now, Cry Later” – Drake
“Life Is Good” – Future & Drake

OUTSTANDING DUO, GROUP OR COLLABORATION (TRADITIONAL)

Alicia Keys feat. Jill Scott – “Jill Scott”
Chloe x Halle – “Wonder What She Thinks Of Me”
Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis feat. Babyface – “He Don’t Know Nothin’ Bout It”
Kem feat. Toni Braxton – “Live Out Your Love”
Ledisi and PJ Morton – “Anything For You”

OUTSTANDING DUO, GROUP OR COLLABORATION (CONTEMPORARY)

Alicia Keys feat. Khalid – “So Done”
Big Sean feat. Nipsey Hussle – “Deep Reverence”
Chloe x Halle – “Do It”
Jhené Aiko feat. H.E.R. – “B.S.”
Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyoncé – “Savage Remix”

OUTSTANDING INTERNATIONAL SONG

“Blessed” – Buju Banton
“Lockdown” – Original Koffee
“Pressure (Remix)” – Original Koffee feat. Buju Banton
“Tanana” – Davido feat. Tiwa Savage
“Temptation” – Tiwa Savage

OUTSTANDING PRODUCER OF THE YEAR

Donald Lawrence
Hit-Boy
Jathan Wilson
Sean Keys
TM88

Literature

OUTSTANDING LITERARY WORK – FICTION

Black Bottom Saints – Alice Randall
Lakewood – Megan Giddings
Riot Baby – Tochi Onyebuchi
The Awkward Black Man – Walter Mosley
The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett

OUTSTANDING LITERARY WORK – NONFICTION

A Black Women’s History of the United States – Daina Berry
A Promised Land – Barack Obama
Driving While Black – Gretchen Sorin
Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America – Michael Eric Dyson
We’re Better Than This – Elijah Cummings

OUTSTANDING LITERARY WORK – DEBUT AUTHOR

A Knock at Midnight – Brittany Barnett
Greyboy: Finding Blackness in a White World – Cole Brown
Lakewood – Megan Giddings
The Compton Cowboys – Walter Thompson-Hernandez
We’re Better Than This – Elijah Cummings

OUTSTANDING LITERARY WORK – BIOGRAPHY/AUTOBIOGRAPHY

A Most Beautiful Thing: The True Story of America’s First All-Black High School Rowing Team – Arshay Cooper
A Promised Land – Barack Obama
Olympic Pride, American Prejudice – Deborah Draper
The Dead Are Arising – Les Payne, Tamara Payne
Willie: The Game-Changing Story of the NHL’s First Black Player – Willie O’Ree

OUTSTANDING LITERARY WORK – INSTRUCTIONAL

Do Right by Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Space – Valerie Harrison
Living Lively – Haile Thomas
The Black Foster Youth Handbook – Ángela Quijada-Banks
The Woman God Created You to Be: Finding Success Through Faith–Spiritually, Personally, and Professionally – Kimberla Lawson Roby
Vegetable Kingdom – Bryant Terry

OUTSTANDING LITERARY WORK – POETRY

Homie – Danez Smith
Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry – John Murillo
Seeing the Body – Rachel Eliza Griffiths
The Age of Phillis – Honorée Jeffers
Un-American – Hafizah Geter

OUTSTANDING LITERARY WORK – CHILDREN

I Promise – LeBron James, Nina Mata
Just Like a Mama – Alice Faye Duncan, Charnelle Pinkney Barlow
Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice – Nikki Grimes, Laura Freeman
She Was the First!: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm – Katheryn Russell-Brown, Eric Velasquez
The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver – Gene Barretta, Frank Morrison

OUTSTANDING LITERARY WORK – YOUTH/TEENS

Before the Ever After – Jacqueline Woodson
Black Brother, Black Brother – Jewell Parker Rhodes
Dear Justyce – Nic Stone
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You – Jason Reynolds
This is Your Time – Ruby Bridges

Motion Picture

OUTSTANDING MOTION PICTURE

Bad Boys For Life
Da 5 Bloods
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
One Night In Miami

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE

Anthony Mackie, The Banker
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods
Forest Whitaker, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Will Smith, Bad Boys For Life

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE

Issa Rae, The Photograph
Janelle Monáe, Antebellum
Madalen Mills, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Tracee Ellis Ross, The High Note
Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE

Aldis Hodge, One Night In Miami
Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods
Clarke Peters, Da 5 Bloods
Colman Domingo, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Glynn Turman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE

Anika Noni Rose, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Gabourey Sidibe, Antebellum
Nia Long, The Banker
Phylicia Rashad, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Taylour Paige, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

OUTSTANDING INDEPENDENT MOTION PICTURE

Emperor
Farewell Amor
Miss Juneteenth
The 24th
The Banker

OUTSTANDING INTERNATIONAL MOTION PICTURE

Ainu Mosir
His House
Night of the Kings
The Last Tree
The Life Ahead (La vita davanti a se)

OUTSTANDING BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE IN MOTION PICTURE

Dayo Okeniyi, Emperor
Dominique Fishback, Project Power
Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Charm City Kings
Jahzir Bruno, The Witches
Madalen Mills, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE

Da 5 Bloods
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Soul
The Banker

OUTSTANDING ANIMATED MOTION PICTURE

Onward
Over the Moon
Scoob!
Soul
Trolls World Tour

OUTSTANDING CHARACTER VOICE-OVER PERFORMANCE – MOTION PICTURE

Ahmir-Khalib Thompson aka Questlove, Soul
Angela Bassett, Soul
Chris Rock, The Witches
Jamie Foxx, Soul
Phylicia Rashad, Soul

OUTSTANDING SHORT FORM (LIVE ACTION)

Baldwin Beauty
Black Boy Joy
Gets Good Light
Home
Mr. & Mrs. Ellis

OUTSTANDING SHORT FORM (ANIMATED)

Canvas
Cops and Robbers
Loop
The Power of Hope
Windup

OUTSTANDING BREAKTHROUGH CREATIVE (MOTION PICTURE)

Loira Limbal, Through the Night
Melissa Haizlip, Mr. Soul!
Nadia Hallgren, Becoming
Radha Blank, The Forty-Year-Old Version
Remi Weekes, His House

Documentary

OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY (FILM)

All In: The Fight For Democracy
Coded Bias
John Lewis: Good Trouble
Mr. Soul!
On the Record

OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY (TELEVISION – SERIES OR SPECIAL)

And She Could Be Next
Black Love
Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
The Last Dance
Unsung

Writing

OUTSTANDING WRITING IN A COMEDY SERIES

Issa Rae – “Lowkey Feelin’ Myself” (Insecure)
Lee Eisenberg, Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon – “The Rock” (Little America)
Michaela Coel – “Ego Death” (I May Destroy You)
Mindy Kaling, Lang Fisher – “Pilot” (Never Have I Ever)
Rajiv Joseph – “The Manager” (Little America)

OUTSTANDING WRITING IN A DRAMA SERIES

Attica Locke – “The Spider Web” (Little Fires Everywhere)
Erika L. Johnson, Mark Richard – “A Wicked Plot” (The Good Lord Bird)
Jessica Lamour – “Love Hurts” (Little Voice)
Katori Hall – “Perpetratin'” (P-Valley)
Tanya Barfield – “Shirley” (Mrs. America)

OUTSTANDING WRITING IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR SPECIAL

Diallo Riddle, Bashir Salahuddin, D. Rodney Carter, Emily Goldwyn, Rob Haze, Zuri Salahuddin, Bennett Webber, Evan Williams, Will Miles, Sherman’s Showcase Black History Month Spectacular
Eugene Ashe, Sylvie’s Love
Geri Cole, The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Sylvia L. Jones, Camille Tucker, The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel

OUTSTANDING WRITING IN A MOTION PICTURE (FILM)

David E. Talbert, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Kemp Powers, One Night in Miami.
Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Pete Docter, Kemp Powers, Mike Jones, Soul
Radha Blank, The Forty-Year-Old Version

OUTSTANDING WRITING IN A DOCUMENTARY (TELEVISION OR MOTION PICTURE)

Mary Mazzio, A Most Beautiful Thing
Melissa Haizlip, Mr. Soul!
Nile Cone, The Beat Don’t Stop
Royal Kennedy Rodgers, Hollywood’s Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story
Yoruba Richen, Elia Gasull Balada, Valerie Thomas, The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show

Directing

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING IN A COMEDY SERIES

Anya Adams – “Hair Day” (Black-ish)
Aurora Guerrero – “The Jaguar” (Little America)
Eric Dean Seaton – “Our Wedding Dre” (Black-ish)
Kabir Akhtar – “…started a nuclear war” (Never Have I Ever)
Sam Miller, Michaela Coel – “Ego Death” (I May Destroy You)

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING IN A DRAMA SERIES

Cheryl Dunye – “Strange Case” (Lovecraft Country)
Hanelle Culpepper – “Remembrance” (Star Trek: Picard)
Misha Green – “Jig-a-Bobo” (Lovecraft Country)
Nzingha Stewart – “The Uncanny” (Little Fires Everywhere)
Steve McQueen – “Mangrove” (Small Axe)

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR SPECIAL

Beyoncé Knowles Carter, Emmanuel Adeji, Blitz Bazawule, Kwasi Fordjour, Black Is King
Christine Swanson, The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel
Chuck Vinson, Alan Muraoka, The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special
Eugene Ashe, Sylvie’s Love
Kamilah Forbes, Between The World And Me

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING IN A MOTION PICTURE (FILM)

David E. Talbert, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
George C. Wolfe, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Gina Prince-Bythewood, The Old Guard
Radha Blank, The Forty-Year-Old Version
Regina King, One Night in Miami

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING IN A DOCUMENTARY (TELEVISION OR MOTION PICTURE)

Keith McQuirter, By Whatever Means Necessary: The Times of Godfather of Harlem
Muta’Ali, Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn
Sam Pollard, Maro Chermayeff, Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children (Ep. 1 & 2)
Simcha Jacobovici, Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
Yoruba Richen, The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show

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Celebs

Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall” Goes 9x Platinum

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An album that spawned 4 Top 10 hits, 2 going #1 (Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough/Rock with You), has reached a new milestone. Michael’s first “big” album, Off The Wall, has reached 9x Platinum in the United States of America.

The album had been 8X platinum since its last update in August 2009, shortly after Michael’s death. Diamond is right around the corner. Stream the album below.

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Celebs

Brandy is heading to The Voice

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The Voice Season 20 is almost here — and returning coach John Legend has some serious star power on his side.

The performer revealed on Monday that his celeb mentor for the upcoming season will be none other than… Brandy!

Her track record as a successful artist speaks for itself and we’ve been loving her and cherishing her as an artist of our culture for such a long time,” Legend raved when the two sat down with ET.

What I tell her and what is so resonant to me about her is not only has she had a great career and had lots of hits, but singers love Brandy,” he added. “They all look up to her and she’s so influential to other singers. For a show like ours where it’s all about mentoring singers, for them to see her when they walk in the room… it’s just a magical moment every time.

The Voice Season 20 premiers March 1, 2021.

In other Brandy news, she will be appearing on The View this Thursday.

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