Jonathan Majors’ Red Carpet Return and 8 Other Things You Didn’t See on TV at the NAACP Image Awards

The NAACP’s 55th annual Image Awards marked the end to the months-long awards season and it went out with a bang, with superstars like Oprah Winfrey and Usher, Oscar nominees including Sterling K. Brown and Jeffrey Wright, and legends like New Edition showing up for the glittering event at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Also among the stars in attendance was Jonathan Majors, accompanying girlfriend and nominee Meagan Good in the pair’s first major red carpet event together, and Majors’ most high-profile appearance since he was found guilty of assault and harassment in December.

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Majors and Good took photos with admiring fans during the commercial breaks, while stars used the moments to grab hugs with friends and admirers, like Octavia Butler’s embrace of honoree Amanda Gorman. With The Hollywood Reporter on the carpet and inside the room, here are the top things the TV cameras didn’t show at the ceremony, hosted by Queen Latifah.

Majors and girlfriend Megan Good give select interviews on red carpet

Good, who was nominated for her second NAACP award for her role in Harlem, told Entertainment Tonight that she is “happier than [she’s] been in a long time.” After giving the actress space to talk about the Amazon Prime project and what the role has meant to her, ET’s Kevin Frazier pulled in Majors, asking first how he was doing. “Good to be seen, man,” the actor replied, before noting that it was “incredible” to be Good’s plus-one at the awards show. “I love everything she does, and I’m glad she’s being acknowledged today, by us.” Before the pair made their way inside, Frazier asked him what it felt like to have Good, who he noted clearly loved Majors,  as he navigated the last few months: “You want me to cry?” he asked, and then responded: “Nah, man, Love is beautiful. Support, accountability, all those things – someone to talk to and chat with and get better with, and for, so, God is good.”

Courtney B. Vance and Deon Cole share a bromance moment

During the Average Joe star’s interview with THR on the carpet, Courtney B. Vance reached out and pushed Cole on the shoulder, before the two play-fought and hugged. Cole informed THR that “no interview will get done with Deon and Courtney,” as the two laughed.

Lisa Ann Walter fans out over Bradley Cooper

On the more recent episode of Abbott Elementary, Lisa Ann Walter, who plays teacher Melissa in the comedy, had a special guest come into her classroom. The guest was none other than Maestro star Bradley Cooper, who Walter admitted to THR she was “giddy” to be around. “I giggled pretty much nonstop the entire time we worked together,” she said. “He’s a hot monkey guy on a stick.”

Damson Idris teases new Brad Pitt movie

Snowfall star Damson Idris teased his upcoming Formula One racing movie with Brad Pitt, which follows a retired driver who comes out of retirement to mentor a young driver. Idris shared his favorite moment on set was “when we came off camera, I said to him ‘Man this might be the best moment of my life,’ and he was like ‘Yeah me too, kid.’”

Musical Chairs

As the show was beginning, attendees were scrambling to find their seats. While guests were due to receive their tickets digitally, a snafu with the system left some waiting for them the day of show, so they were directed to get them at the box office on site. The confusion likely played a part in some people who were still searching for their spot moments before the show. Vivica  A. Fox had to just find a seat when the show started, while seat fillers filled up the open seats. The actress eventually made her way to her assigned seat closer to the stage, but the game of musical chairs for others lasted throughout the evening.

Queen Charlottes stick together

India Ria Amarteifio, who plays the young Charlotte on Netflix’s Queen Charlotte, won at the NAACP awards for outstanding actress in a drama series. While the younger star was accepting her award, Golda Rosheuvel, who plays the character as an older woman, shouted from the audience, “I support!” and captured the moment on her phone. Later, actress Adjoa Andoh (Lady Danbury) shared an embrace with Rosheuvel. Amarteifio marked the second Brit of the night to win (after Damson Idris took home an award for outstanding actor just before), to which the emcee joked: “American actors, you’ll get your due.”

Black Card check

During a break, the emcee played a couple of songs to check everyone’s “Black Card.” He first asked the famous question, “Do you know where was Usher at, at 7 o’clock?” referencing the star’s song “Nice & Slow” that sparked a lot of debate on social media because of people’s split answers. (Based on the song’s lyrics, the answer could be in his drop top cruising the street, or Paris, where the actual video was set). The audience sang along to the song as it played.

Later, the DJ plays the clean version of 2006’s “Blow the Whistle,” by Too $hort. When the artist raps the famous call and response, “Whats my favorite word?” some in the audience yelled out the expletive, to which the emcee of the evening said, “Whoa whoa whoa …” and suggested an alternative word instead: “Witch.”

Everyone fans out over Usher

THR asked several NAACP attendees, including Luke James, Trevor Jackson and Diarra from Detroit star DomiNque Perry, how they felt about Usher getting his flowers as the newest President’s Award recipient and Entertainer of the Year honoree. Each person shared their level of excitement, but Danielle Brooks, seemingly the most excited, shared with THR, that she “accidentally” left her wedding at ring at home for Usher.

The Color Purple reunion

Taraji P. Henson, who plays Shug Avery in 2023’s The Color Purple, walked over to a seated Fantasia Barrino and gave her a huge hug. The two then talked for a while before costar Danielle Brooks came by and embraced them as well. Brooks, an Oscar nominee for her role in the film, shared her excitement with being at the NAACP awards with THR. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my people,” she said. “The dedication that so many Black actors and actresses put into this inspired me to be where I am.” The cast collectively took home several NAACP Image Awards, including outstanding motion picture.

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