I'm not a fan of award shows. Nor am I much of a celebrity buff. So, sitting down in front of the tube for 2-3 hours and watching a bunch of over-paid entertainers preen, gush and compliment one another, just doesn't do a heck of a lot for me.
The main reason I watched this year's NAACP IMAGE AWARDS was for the slim possibility that my friend, DWIGHT FRYER might win in the DEBUT AUTHOR category. Of course, unless I looked away and missed it, the LITERARY AWARDS weren't even mentioned in the live telecast. Of course, an ALREADY ESTABLISHED entertainer, an ACTOR by the the name of HILL HARPER (CSI) ended up winning the LITERARY AWARD FOR DEBUT AUTHOR. Of course.
I'm not even gonna ask or attempt to explore why these two "authors" were in the same category. I will say that even my 10-year-old realizes that fiction and non-fiction are two totally different beasts and that in our star-blinded society, a vitrual unknown stands little chance against a celebrity. Though to be fair, I've heard nothing but positive things about Mr. Harper and his book.
But getting back to the show, as it drew to a close, CHRIS TUCKER took the podium and started talking about BONO'S humanitarian efforts in Africa. I know who BONO is, but I can't say I'm all that familiar with his music. I'd dare say, I couldn't name one song he's written, performed or won an award for, if my life depended on it. As admirable as I think BONO'S work in Africa is, I almost changed the channel during his segment. I'm glad I didn't.
BONO'S acceptance speech was the show's highlight and elevated my respect for him as a fellow human being and a humanitarian. He talked about how ideas, like Martin L. King's commitment to "non-violence" travel and how impressed he was as youth living in Ireland with the sacrifices made by the participants of the Civil Rights movement in the United States.
Like a good, humble award recipient, BONO thanked the NAACP and gave the organization its props for the work it did back in the day . . . and then he shucked the formalities and straight PREACHED. The following are some of the more thought-provoking lines from his speech:
"True religion will not let us fall asleep in the comfort of our freedom."
"Love thy neighbor is not a piece of advice, it's a command."
"Where you live should not decide whether you live or whether you die."
"The poor are where God lives . . . God is with us if we are with them."
In keeping with the spirit of what BONO had to say, I think it might behoove the organizers of the NAACP IMAGE AWARDS to wake up and at some point revamp their show in order to include the outstanding deeds and accomplishments of some lesser known folks. I'm not saying, step away from the celebrity spotlight altogether, because certainly, folks like BONO, SOLEDAD O'BRIEN (CNN) and HILL HARPER deserve their due.
But can't some of that love be spread around and doled out to the little guy and gal every now and then? Or am I the only who who thinks the NAACP is in desperate need of an IMAGE MAKE-OVER? Of course, not that it really matters in the larger scheme of things.
The truth is, next year I probably won't even watch the IMAGE AWARDS. But what I do expect to do in the coming weeks is go out and add some BONO to my music collection.