Key Of Life Award Honorees and Broad Slate of Television and Motion Picture Directing Nominees Announced For 40th NAACP Image Awards

Directing Winners to be Revealed During Live Broadcast Feb. 12 on FOX

ANGELES, CA, JAN. 27, 2009 -- The NAACP announced that Elizabeth Catlett-Mora, Jonathan Green and Sam Gilliam; three artists whose work speaks to the ongoing crusade for human rights and social justice will be presented with its Key of Life Award at the 40TH NAACP IMAGE AWARDS, broadcast by FOX live from 8-10 p.m. ET Feb. 12. Each artist has created a limited 100 print edition lithograph, with all proceeds donated to the NAACP.

"These three people are some of our most gifted artists and dedicated activists,”
commented Clayola Brown, chairperson of the NAACP Image Awards. “The NAACP is appreciative that they have created the limited edition lithographs – this is a wonderful gift for our 100th Anniversary.”

Also, nominees in the directing categories for the 40th NAACP Image Awards were announced. They include those behind an eclectic array of television series and motion pictures.

“We have been working together with the DGA African American steering committee to recognize the contributions and talent of directors of color,” said Vic Bulluck, executive producer of the telecast and executive director of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau. “The nominees in the television and film categories are all exceptional directors and we are delighted to acknowledge their achievements.”

The nominees are:
Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series
• Ali LeRoi – “Everybody Hates Chris - Everybody Hates Port Authority" (CW)
• Ken Whittingham – “Entourage - Seth Green Day" (HBO)
• Kevin Sullivan – “30 Rock - MILF Island" (NBC)
• Tracee Ellis Ross – “Girlfriends - What's Black-A-Lackin" (CW)
• Victor Nelli, Jr. – “Ugly Betty - Crush'd" (ABC)

Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series
• Anthony Hemingway – “Heroes - Chapter Five: Angels and Monsters" (NBC)
• Eriq LaSalle – “Law & Order: SVU - PTSD" (NBC)
• Ernest Dickerson – “Lincoln Heights - The Day Before Tomorrow" (ABC Family)
• Paris Barclay – “In Treatment - Alex-Week 8” (HBO)
• Seith Mann – “The Wire - The Dickensian Aspect" (HBO)

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture ( Theatrical or Television)
• Darnell Martin – “Cadillac Records” (Sony Music Film/Parkwood Pictures)
• Gina Prince-Bythewood – “The Secret Life of Bees” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
• Patrik Ian Polk – “Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom” (LOGO)
• Spike Lee – “Miracle at St. Anna” (Touchstone Pictures)
• Tyler Perry – “Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys” (Lionsgate)

Elizabeth Catlett-Mora has created "Keisha M." lithograph. Born in Washington, D.C.,in 1919, she is a master sculptor, painter, printmaker, activist and warrior. Renowned for her intensely political art, Catlett-Mora has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to fighting injustice in showing her support in the struggle for equality for the poor and oppressed. In 1946, she went to Mexico City to work at the Taller de Gráfica Popular, an artists' collective. There, along with her then-husband, the artist Charles White, she created prints depicting Mexican life. As a left-wing activist, she endured investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee during the 1950s, then took Mexican citizenship early in the next decade.

Jonathan Green has created “Geech” a 22”x 30” limited edition fine art lithograph. He was born in 1955 in Gardens Corner, South Carolina and grew up in a small rural African-American community of Gullah heritage and traditions that stressed the values of work, love, belonging, and spirituality. He was deeply influenced by his grandmother Eloise, his mother Ruth, and the elders of his home community who taught him the oral traditions of his African and African-American customs and mores. Such traditions instilled in him a sense of value and purpose and a deep respect for the dignity and privacy of others as they all responsibly addressed the tasks and challenges of life.

Sam Gilliam has created “Recitals,” a 34” x 16” digital and relief printing. The career of painter Sam Gilliam has spanned decades and mediums, using paint, draped canvas and plastics to help influence numerous schools of art. Sam Gilliam, Jr. was born on November 30, 1933 in Tupelo, Mississippi. In 1963, artist Thomas Downing introduced Gilliam to the Washington Color School, which was defined by bold colors. Though his work is featured in galleries throughout the world and he is a self-sustaining artist, Gilliam is committed to teaching youth the foundations of art and has worked in numerous facilities including Washington, D.C. Public Schools, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland.

Academy Award-winner Halle Berry and acclaimed screenwriter/actor Tyler Perry, both recipients of an NAACP Image Award, will host the 40TH NAACP IMAGE AWARDS, broadcast live from Los Angeles’ historic Shrine Auditorium. This star-studded event, which coincides with the NAACP’s 100th anniversary, will kick off the organization’s year-long centennial celebration. Previously announced honorees include Former Vice President Al Gore and Dr. Wangari Maathai, who will both receive the Chairman’s Award and Russell Simmons who will receive the Vanguard Award.

Event sponsors for the 40th NAACP Image Awards include Chrysler, FedEx, American
Airlines, Bank of America, Blockbuster, Ford Motor Company and Southwest Airlines.

Founded on Feb. 12, 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its half million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, and monitor equal opportunity in the public and private sectors. For more information on the NAACP IMAGE AWARDS, please visit

# # #

< View All Press Releases