Diddy, Russell Simmons Win NAACP Image Awards

Sean “Diddy” Combs and pioneer mogul Russell Simmons were Hip-Hop’s biggest winners at the 2009 NAACP Image Awards. The taped event was broadcast last night (February 12) from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Combs picked up Best Actor in a Television Movie honors for his work in the well-received, 2008 adaption of Lorraine Hansberry’s timeless play A Raisin in the Sun.

Combining a talented cast of actors in Phylicia Rashad, Sanaa Lathan, Sean Patrick Thomas, and Audra McDonald, the film brought in an audience of 12 million for its initial February 2008 airing.

Simmons took home the coveted Vanguard Award, which is given to those “whose ground breaking work increases understanding and awareness of racial and social issues.”

Through the non-profit Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, Simmons utilizes the uniting force of Hip-Hop culture to advocate education, financial literacy, and social empowerment for young people.

“Russell is deserving of this prestigious award because he has used the power of Hip-Hop to reach and inspire our nation’s youth,” stated Clayola Brown, NAACP Image Awards Chairwoman. “Combined with his ongoing commitment to strengthening relations between ethnic communities and his generous charitable spirit, Russell was a natural choice to receive the honor.”

The 40th annual NAACP Awards was hosted by Halle Berry and Tyler Perry, and also marked the 100th anniversary of the organization.

A full list of winners is available at http://www.naacp.org/news/press/2009-02-13/index.htm