My Night At The 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards Show

February 3, 2013 in Jim's Journal

JIM’S JOURNAL SPECIAL EDITION: AN UNFORGETTABLE EVENING AT THE AWARDS SHOW

44th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles

Jim Smith, Jr. on the red carpet at the 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles

Darn! Somebody woke me up! The week is over and I’m back home. It’s cold in Philly. And I was just getting used to that southern California climate. By now, I trust that you have either seen the live broadcast or Googled the results. I am not bringing back the actual Image Awards trophy but I am bringing back a ton of memories. Wow! What a week! Before I begin talking about the last day and the actual Awards show, I want to thank each one of you for going on this incredible ride with me. Talk about giving a brother some love…your kind words and expressions of support were with me every step of the way. I’m truly blessed to have such a BIG family. Even during the live broadcast some of you sent me text messages to let me know you were thinking about me. My aunt even sent me a text to give her a shout-out if I won. I cracked up!

44th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles

NAACP Image Awards stage set at Shrine Auditorium

When I woke up on Friday I felt like I did when I was preparing for my senior prom back in 1979. I knew that I would be wearing a tuxedo that evening and I knew that I needed to be on my “A” game. Was I nervous? Yes! Was I anxious? Yes! Was I ready? Oh yeah! I dreamt about winning over and over again. I imagined myself going onto the stage and accepting the trophy. I even had my acceptance speech ready (it would fit into the 60 second required time each winner was given). It just wasn’t meant to be this time…but I’m not mad. What a ride!

44th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles

President’s Award & Best Supporting Actress Recipient, Kerry Washington

I met Marena and Vanesse (my publicist) in the hotel lobby at 2:00 pm (pst). They both looked amazing! We took the shuttle to the Shrine Auditorium. Once there, I prepared to walk the red carpet for the final time of the week (at least that’s what I thought). This time it was a little different. The carpet was much longer, security was everywhere and I knew the A-List stars would be there. I saw LL Cool J, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Quentin Tarantino and others. I enjoyed my final walk knowing that the cameras, who were friendly to the nominees all week, were salivating for the top shelf stars. I knew it was time to go into the auditorium and find my seat. What you didn’t see on live television was the pre-show. For 90 minutes they gave out Image awards to people in a variety of categories; these awards would not be televised. When Kyle Massey (That’s So Raven and Dancing with the Stars) called my category I tensed up and sat up straighter in my chair. Marena and Vanesse tensed up too. We listened intently. When my name wasn’t called I leaned back in my seat and thanked God for bringing me this far. Was I disappointed? YES! I realized the significance of even being nominated. But, I’m just keeping it real. I was in it to win it! But after 5 to 10 minutes of disappointment I was ready for the rest of the show. Up to now this had been a week of fun, laughter and “feeling special” and I wasn’t going to go out on a melancholy note.

44th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles

Marena Ariffin & actress Frida Pinto

And what a show it was. I was up close and personal with the likes of Jamie Fox, Halle Berry, Gladys Knight, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Loretta Devine and Mario Von Peebles. They could have admitted me into the hospital with a severe case of whiplash as I was noticing celebrities all over the place. Marena and I left our seats before the show started, to see what celebrity was dying to take a photo with one of us (lol). Once the show started I sat back and enjoyed. My highlights included Gladys Knight’s solo and the tributes to Kerry Washington, Harry Belafonte and Jamie Fox. I didn’t want the show to end. It did, however, and we headed back to the hotel for the after-show reception (and many celebrities headed there too). We took more pictures…even walked the red carpet that was set up. In addition to posing for more pictures, I interviewed with a number of journalists and reporters. Marena served as my publicist this time as we walked the carpet, asking everyone with a microphone if they wanted to interview me. As Alicia Keys would sing, “Jim Smith is on fire!!!!!!”

44th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles

Steve Harvey hosting the 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards

Gorgeous and handsome people were everywhere. We listened to music, ate, danced and yes, took more pictures. I even got my wobble on. There was a private V.I.P. room with Kem providing the music and entertainment. I was front and center. Marena and Vanesse retired early but not me. Even though I knew the car would be at the hotel to take us to the airport at 5:45 am (pst), I was determined to savor every second. At 1:00 am (pst) I finally decided to say good night to my magical week.

44th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles

Jamie Foxx receiving Best Actor Award from Samuel L. Jackson

I napped for four hours then headed for the airport. The flight departed and landed back in Philly on time. Marena and I gave each other a hug and a high-five and said, “We did it!” Thank goodness for cameras and video recorders. I think we truly captured the entire week and were able to share it with you. Marena’s nephew and husband (and my brother) met us at the airport. They could see that we were still flying high. Even though we shared our enthusiasm we both felt that in order for them to feel what we were feeling they had to be there.

44th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles

Common Performing Live at the 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles

I was blown away by the outpouring of support you shared while I was in LA. Everyday I couldn’t wait to share my blog and pictures with you. I definitely want to thank Marena for her indefatigable work and picture taking. I truly needed her help and support and she played BIG. I also want to thank Ames Friedman Peinovich (from the JIMPACT Team) for all of her social media excellence this week. I wrote the blog but she was responsible for sharing it, and other messages, with the rest of the world. Thanks also go out to my publicist, Vanesse, who put me in front of a lot of “connected” people. I also want to thank you. I heard from so many of you. From grade school, to high school, to college, clients, customers and friends, I received well-wishes daily. I love my life and I love the people who are in it. I even received words of encouragement from my friends in India, the Netherlands and Shanghai.

44th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles

Jim Smith, Jr. front and center enjoying an unforgettable night at the 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards

Being nominated was a wonderful thing. NAACP officials shared with me that thousands of books were considered and The No Excuse Guide to Success made it to the top five. I received a certificate of achievement and a week to remember for the rest of my life. Now that I’m back home I’m worn, worn, worn out but I’m feeling extremely blessed. During the live broadcast my wife threw an Image Awards party at the house and I received many text and Facebook messages and emails from people who said they were watching the show. My mother called me afterwards to see if I won because she said that they didn’t mention my category on air. I said, “Mom, I didn’t win the award but I’m determined, more so than ever before, to live my life OUT LOUD!” Magical things happen when you do what you love.

I trust that my February is going to be even better than my January. I’ll keep you posted. My best is yet to come!

GET JIM’S DAILY BLOG UPDATES FROM HOLLYWOOD

  • SEE DAY 1: On My Way to the NAACP Image Awards
  • SEE DAY 2: Red Carpet 101 at the Nominees Luncheon
  • SEE DAY 3: A Day of Reflection
  • SEE DAY 4: When You Do What You Love Magical Things Happen
  • SEE DAY 5: Our Best Is Yet To Come!
  • SEE DAY 6: Dream Week Continues With CAA Screening Party
  • SEE DAY 7: Runways and Red Carpets Amp Up the Excitement
  • SEE DAY 8: My Night At The 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards Show
  • MORE PHOTOS: See the Photo Gallery from my Awards Week in LA

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