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Nominees for 40th NAACP Image Awards Unveiled

The nominees for the 40th NAACP Image Awards were announced on January 7th during a press conference held in Beverly Hills, California. Among those to be honored is Dr. Wangari Maathai, who will be presented with the Chairman’s Award, along with her fellow Nobel laureate, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. Africa was also represented in the entertainment categories, were various Africans were nominated in recognition of their achievements and performances in the arts, including Estelle, Sophie Okonedo, and Seal.

Dr. Wangari Maathai

Hailing from Kenya, Dr. Wangari Maathai is internationally recognized for her relentless efforts in the fight for democracy, human rights and environmental conservation. Dr. Maathai has made significant contributions to environmental and women’s issues, and as founder of the Green Belt Movement…she has been the recipient of numerous awards. Most notably, In 2004 the award-winning environmentalist and political activist became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize ” for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” The Chairman’s Award is bestowed in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service.

First-time nominee Estelle received a nomination for Outstanding New Artist as well as a nomination in the category of Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration, for her hit single “American Boy” featuring Kanye West.

A repeat nominee, Warner Bros. Records recording artist Seal has been nominated in the category of Outstanding Album for his 2008 album “Soul,” which features cover versions of soul classics, including Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.” Estelle

In the motion picture category, three-time nominee Sophie Okonedo, who most recently won a 2007 NAACP Image Award for her performance in “Tsunami: The Aftermath,” has been nominated this year in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture in recognition of her role in the film “The Secret Life of Bees.”

The NAACP Image Awards will be broadcast live from Los Angeles’ historic Shrine Auditorium on Thursday, February 12 on FOX and will be Hosted by Halle Berry and Tyler Perry, both past Image Award recipients. The star-studded event, which coincides with the NAACP’s 100th anniversary, will serve as the launch for the organization’s year-long centennial celebration.

For more information on the NAACP Image Awards, visit their website.

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