''Brown Sugar,'' ''Bernie Mac'' top NAACP Image nods. Denzel Washington, Missy Elliott, and ''Soul Food'' are among the multiple nominees for the arts awards

”Brown Sugar” may not have been a huge box office hit, but it could clean up at the 34th annual NAACP Image Awards, which honor movies, TV shows, music, and books that highlight the achievements of people of color. The hip-hop-inflected romantic comedy led the nominations, announced Thursday, with eight citations, including Outstanding Motion Picture, Actor (Taye Diggs) and Actress (Sanaa Lathan). In the TV categories, Bernie Mac led the comedy pack with six nominations for his self-titled series, while Showtime’s ”Soul Food” earned seven nods.

”Barbershop,” which drew the ire of the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton over its jokes about civil rights leaders, apparently didn’t offend the NAACP voters, who gave the movie five nominations. Cedric the Entertainer was nominated for his performance as the Martin Luther King-dissing barber, as well as scoring three citations for his TV show ”Cedric the Entertainer Presents” and one for his supporting role on TV’s ”The Proud Family.” (That program earned four nominations total.) Denzel Washington was represented three times: as an actor in ”John Q” and ”Antwone Fisher,” as well as with the Outstanding Motion Picture nod for ”Fisher,” which he directed.

Among musicians, India.Arie picked up five nominations, including Oustanding Album (”Voyage to India”) and Female Artist. At least two nominations apiece went to Missy Elliott, Nelly, Mary J. Blige, Ashanti, LL Cool J, Erykah Badu, Musiq, and Kirk Franklin. Plus, ”Brown Sugar” picked up an Outstanding Album nod for its soundtrack.

Awards in 35 categories will be announced at a ceremony at Hollywood’s Universal Amphitheatre on March 8, which will be taped for broadcast on Fox on March 13. A list of nominees in top categories is below.


Outstanding Motion Picture

”Antwone Fisher”
”Brown Sugar”
”John Q”

Outstanding Actor
Taye Diggs, ”Brown Sugar”
Ice Cube, ”Barbershop”
Morgan Freeman, ”High Crimes”
Samuel L. Jackson, ”Changing Lanes”
Denzel Washington, ”John Q”

Outstanding Actress
Angela Bassett, ”Sunshine State”
Vivica A. Fox, ”Juwanna Man”
Sanaa Lathan, ”Brown Sugar”
Jennifer Lopez, ”Maid in Manhattan”
Thandie Newton, ”The Truth About Charlie”


Outstanding Comedy Series
”The Bernie Mac Show”
”My Wife and Kids”
”One On One”
”The Parkers”

Outstanding Drama Series
”Boston Public”
”Six Feet Under”
”Soul Food”
”The Wire”


Outstanding Album
”Voyage to India,” India.Arie
”Nellyville,” Nelly
”Juslisen,” Musiq
”The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin,” Kirk Franklin
”’Brown Sugar’ Soundtrack,” various

Outstanding Female Artist
Erykah Badu
Mary J. Blige
Missy Elliott

Outstanding Male Artist
LL Cool J
Mos Def
Carlos Santana


Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction
”A Love of My Own,” E. Lynn Harris
”Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea,” Nikki Giovanni
”The Emperor of Ocean Park,” Stephen L. Carter
”Thieves’ Paradise,” Eric Jerome Dickey
”The Bondswoman’s Narrative,” Hannah Crafts; Henry Louis Gates, editor

Outstanding Literary Work, Nonfiction
”A Song Flung Up to Heaven,” Maya Angelou
”Keeping the Faith,” Tavis Smiley
”Bill Clinton and Black America,” DeWayne Wickham
”Growing Up X,” Ilyasah Shabazz
”Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters,” Carla Kaplan, editor