Oscar-nominated actor and Snakes on a Plane icon Samuel L. Jackson is set to receive the Chairman’s Award during the 53rd NAACP Image Awards. In addition, Scot X. Esdaile will be honored with the Activist of the Year award while Channing Hill will receive the Youth Activist of the Year award.
The Chairman’s Award recognizes of individuals who demonstrate exemplary public service and use their distinct platforms to create agents of change. Past honorees include the late U.S. Congressman John Lewis and Ruby Dee, Danny Glover, Rev. James Lawson, Tyler Perry, then-Senator Barack Obama, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and former Surgeon General Regina Benjamin.
“Samuel L. Jackson is an incredibly talented actor with a remarkable career in film and theater spanning over four decades,” said Leon W. Russell, chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors. “Many might not know that prior to his acting career, Jackson was a staunch activist during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, even serving as an usher at Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral. His continued public service and advocacy for social change make him an excellent recipient for the Chairman’s Award.”
Activist of the Year Award recipient Scot X. Esdaile serves as President of the Connecticut State Conference of NAACP Branches and is a member of the NAACP National Board of Directors. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Esdaile has been working with the Black and Latino Caucus addressing the lack of testing, data, PPE supplies and vaccinations for the Black and Brown communities. His efforts on this initiative have produced positive outcomes in the health arena with better access to testing and vaccination sites in minority communities. He also fought for the successful passage of bills that limited use of tasers and established the Minority Health Advisory Council to eliminate health disparities.
Most recently, Esdaile collaborated with many stakeholders, hospitals, and the Governor of Connecticut on the NAACP National Million Jobs Campaign, an initiative geared toward removing barriers to employment for formerly incarcerated individuals, and designed to help people make fresh starts while reducing recidivism. The purpose of the initiative is to provide viable opportunities for people who have served time to get back on the right path and to become a viable citizen contributing to society and the community.
Channing Hill, who will receive the Youth Activist of the Year award is the NAACP Chapter President of Howard University. Hill is an aspiring lawyer pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Strategic, Legal, and Management Communication at Howard University in Washington, D.C. At only 20 years old, Hill has organized and led protests in public schools in her home state of Texas since her adolescence. Finding her voice in her NAACP Youth-Council in Arlington, Texas, she now leads as the Howard University NAACP Chapter President. Channing’s commitment to social justice is rooted in a firm belief in community and black traditions.
Winners for the 53rd NAACP Image Awards will be revealed during the live special airing onFebruary 26 at 8:00 PM ET/PT on BET. Voting is still open to the public and fans are encouraged to submit their votes until February 5.
The NAACP will also recognize winners in non-televised Image Awards categories February 21-25, which will stream on www.naacpimageawards.net.