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Ashanti, Jeffrey Wright, Kenny Leon, LL Cool J, Tavis Smiley, and Sharon Leal Attend The 20th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards

(Hollywood, CA) September 1, 2010– The evening of August 30th was filled with glamour and theatre enthusiasts for the 20th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards at the Director’s Guild of America in Los Angeles. The awards featured hostess LisaRaye McCoy who appeared in a beautiful white one-piece outfit as she stepped out of her white four door Bentley. McCoy’s co-host, Mekhi Phifer, arrived at the awards with a black Versace suit and was excited to carry out the show.

The Beverly Hills/Hollywood Branch was happy to honor a full slate of honoree and their presenters. LL Cool J and actress Nia Long presented to the first honoree, Ashanti Douglas (Spirit Theatre Award). Long mentioned her experience of co-directing Ashanti’s video “Baby,” in addition, LL Cool J, spoke about Ashanti’s brilliant performance during ‘The Wiz’ and her ability to seamlessly cross over into theatre from music. Another honoree presenter included Ben Vereen, who is a previous NAACP Theatre Award honoree. Vereen came to pass the torch to Broadway director, Kenny Leon who received the Trailblazer Theatre Award. The Humanitarian Theatre Award was given to Isagenix for their efforts to aid victims of the Haitian earthquake disaster. Along those lines, actress Sharon Leal presented Wal-Mart the President’s Theatre Award which was accepted by Quadiru Kent, Senior Vice President of Human Resources. Following Wal-Mart was Tavis Smiley who presented the Community Service Theatre Award to Wren Brown for his efforts within the theatre community. Lastly, Oscar-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr. presented the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award to Jeffrey Wright for his numerous accomplishments and dedication to the theatre arts over the course of his career.

The awards night was also filled with action-packed vignettes including “Mr. Bojangles” starring Obba Babatunde, “Sarafina” which is produced by Wendy Raquel Robinson’s Amazing Grace Conservatory, “Chicago Club Rumboogie”, and “The First Wives Club” the musical starring Tony Award nominee Sheryl Lee Ralph. The show closed with an enchanted performance by R&B artist, Bobby V. These performances were under the direction of creative director Sakinah LeStage and music director Gil A. Smith.

Celebrity presenters include Sydney Poitier, Anna Horsford, Brandon T. Jackson, Quinton Aaron, Brian White, Kelly Price, Hosea Chanchez, Lance Gross, Omar Gooding, Monique Coleman, Meagan Good, Tatyana Ali, Tamera Mowry, Darren Dewitt Henson, Denise Boutte, Khleo Thomas, Kim Coles, and many more. Sponsors for the award show includes Wal-Mart, Southern California Edison, Upscale Magazine, Rent A Center, Fox Entertainment Group, Honda, Verizon, 8th District Councilmember Bernard C. Parks, Southwest Airlines, Ciroc, and Nuvo.