Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter is set to receive one of the NAACP Image Awards’ highest honors.
On Thursday, the NAACP announced that the legendary rap star will receive the President’s Award at the upcoming 50th NAACP Image Awards. The President’s Award is presented to someone who has accomplished a special achievement and has shown a history of distinguished public service.
JAY-Z, a 22-time Grammy award winner and entrepreneur, was the first hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He’s also served as President of Def Jam Recordings, became co-owner of global streaming service TIDAL, launched Roc Nation Sports and uses his many platforms for activism, including his Shawn Carter Foundation and his new prison reform initiative, The REFORM Alliance.
Previous recipients of the President’s Award include Jesse Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Muhammad Ali among others.
Meanwhile, the awards may feature a major surprise. According to TMZ, Jussie Smollett recently landed in L.A., and some believe he plans to make an appearance at the ceremony, where he’s nominated for Best Supporting Actor for role on Empire.
Anthony Anderson, who is set to host the awards for the sixth consecutive time, tells Variety that he hopes Smollett wins.
“I hope to see him here,” Anderson said. “I hope he wins. I’m happy for him that the system worked for him in his favor because the system isn’t always fair, especially for people of color.”
He continued, “I hope he wins because I’d be interested to hear his speech.”
The 50th NAACP Image Awards airs Saturday, March 30, 2019 at 9 p.m. ET on TV One, live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
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