39th NAACP Image Awards Honors the Great Stevie Wonder

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This year the NAACP Image Awards, which will return to the air during Black History Month, will continue in the tradition of honoring and celebrating African American achievement with an election year theme, "Stand Up and Be Counted."

"We want everyone to take a close look at the issues and get involved in the democratic process," says Vicangelo Bulluck, executive director of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau and NAACP Image Awards executive producer, about this year's theme.

It is a fitting subject in a year when a Black candidate, Barack Obama, has a strong chance of winning the presidential election and a year that marks the 40th anniversary of such historical events as the Poor People's Campaign marches, the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and Olympic medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos' dramatic, black-gloved salute to Black Power and protest of racial discrimination.

"We will be celebrating in a year with many anniversaries and landmark achievements of African Americans," says clayola Brown, chairwoman of the Image Awards. "We want to commemorate those folks who stand for the struggle we as a people have gone through."

Like in previous years, a diversity symposium will take place in the days leading up to the ceremony. The symposium entitled, "Artists and Activism," will focus on topics such as using "celebrity" to educate the public on issues and causes, the impact media has on how we view the world and how minority communities have been portrayed in mass media from Birth of a Nation to Grey's Anatomy. …