(Los Angeles, CA) – The founding members of the Black Stuntmen’s Association will receive the President’s Award during the 43rd NAACP Image Awards, broadcast live on Friday, February 17th (8:00-10:00 PM EST) on NBC.
The President’s Award, chosen by NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, is bestowed in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service. Past honorees include President Bill Clinton, Soledad O’Brien, Ruby Dee, Muhammad Ali, and most recently Van Jones.
“I am proud to honor the men and women of the Black Stuntmen’s Association with the NAACP President’s Award,” stated Jealous. “The efforts of these pioneers helped to chip away at the racial barriers that divided not only stuntmen, but the entire entertainment/media industry.”
Founded in 1967, the Black Stuntmen’s Association was created to combat practices that denied black stuntmen the opportunity to perform in Hollywood productions. Prior to their advocacy and activism, stunts for black actors were done by white performers “painted down” to a darker complexion. The organization filed lawsuits against a several major movie studios to help bring an end this discriminatory practice and to ensure equal opportunity and access to the stunt roles for all races.
Members of the Black Stuntmen’s Association went on to redefine the profession, performing in iconic films and television programs like Dirty Harry, I Spy, Uptown Saturday Night, and Buck and the Preacher.
Last year at the NAACP 102nd
Annual Convention in Los Angeles, representatives of the Black Stuntmen’s Association’s participated in a panel discussion about the intersection of entertainment professionals and activism. (Watch the panel here http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/300734-2
The Smithsonian Institute is currently planning to curate an exhibit to honor the Coalition and the Black Stuntmen’s Association in Washington, DC.