Queen Latifah is taking the reign as the NAACP Image Awards returns to the Civic Center in Pasadena, California, for its first fully in-person show since 2020. The Equalizer star is hosting the 54th annual awards ceremony, set to air live on February 25, 2023, on BET, in a partnership that commenced in 2019. “It’s an honor to host the 54th NAACP Image Awards, especially in the year we are celebrating 50 years of Hip Hop,” said Queen Latifah in a statement.

“We’re back in the building and we have such a shared mission: supporting, uplifting celebrating and bringing awareness to the Black community,” Connie Orlando, BET’s executive vice president of Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy declares to EBONY. “I think one of the greatest things about the NAACP Image Awards is that it just shows a variety of areas where Black excellence shines.”

Karen Boykin-Towns, the NAACP's vice chair of the National Board of Directors, concurs. "It’s been a tough few years but we are beyond excited to be back in person with our live show and a new host the cultural icon Queen Latifah! We are thrilled to be on BET AND CBS where you can expect to see Black Girl Magic on full display as we celebrate our stories, our culture and our excellence."

Globally recognized as one of the most distinguished multicultural awards shows, this 54th NAACP Image Awards will continue its tradition of excellence: uplifting values that inspire equality, justice and progressive change and highlighting artists committed to that purpose. Zendaya, along with EBONY January 2023 cover star Jonathan Majors, Taye Diggs, Harold Perrineau, Issa Rae, Janelle Monáe, and many more are presenting at this year’s awards.

The Activist of the Year Award will be presented to Dr. Derrick Lee Foward, President of the Dayton Unit of the NAACP and a Vice President of the Ohio NAACP. Dr. Foward has been a strong advocate for civil and human rights for nearly two decades through his work with the NAACP. The Youth Activist of the Year Award will be presented to Bloomington-Normal NAACP Youth Council President Bradley Ross Jackson. Jackson helped to organize a peaceful protest of 1,000 people to demand justice for the murder of George Floyd, one of the largest demonstrations held in Bloomington, Indiana.

"This will be our fourth year in recognizing an adult and youth volunteer leader who exemplifies the work of the NAACP in their community," shares Boykin-Towns. "What makes this special is they can’t nominate themselves so it’s those who they work with who think enough of their leadership and sacrifice to put powerful packets together of their impact for our consideration. We are excited to celebrate them and thank them for all of their efforts."