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**Rep. Bennie Thompson headshot here.
**Ben Crump headshot here.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA (February 2, 2023)

Today, the NAACP and BET announced that U.S. Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) will be honored with the prestigious Chairman’s Award during the “54th NAACP Image Awards.” The Chairman’s Award is bestowed in recognition of individuals who demonstrate exemplary public service and use their distinct platforms to create agents of change. Past honorees of the Chairman’s Award include Samuel L. Jackson, the late U.S. Congressman John Lewis and Ruby Dee, Danny Glover, Rev. James Lawson, Tyler Perry, then-Senator Barack Obama, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and former Surgeon General Regina Benjamin. It was also announced that civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump will receive the Social Justice Impact Award. 

“Congressman Bennie Thompson is a voting rights icon with a remarkable career in politics spanning over three decades,” said Leon W. Russell, chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors. “As the Chairman of the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol, Rep. Thompson has worked tirelessly to protect and serve our country. His continued public service and advocacy for social change make him an excellent recipient for the Chairman’s Award.”

“Benjamin Crump is not just an attorney, but a courageous advocate and force of nature in the fight for freedom and equality,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP. “He has worked tirelessly to provide a voice for the voiceless and continues to inspire the next generation of civil rights attorneys. We’re proud to honor him with the Social Justice Impact Award.”

“Congressman Thompson and Attorney Crump are among the most deserving recipients of these prestigious NAACP Chairman’s and Social Justice Awards, both demonstrating an unwavering commitment to furthering the civil rights agenda,” said Scott Mills, President and CEO, BET. “Each year, the NAACP Image Awards presents an opportunity for us to amplify the incredible contributions of individuals who’ve made an outsized impact on our community; it is our great honor to be able to shine this light in partnership with the NAACP in recognition of barrier-breaking leaders like Congressman Thompson and Attorney Crump, whose work will inspire generations to come.” 

Born in a state with a unique history of racial inequality, Rep.Thompson draws inspiration from the legacies of Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry and Henry Kirksey. The Bolton, Mississippi native considers it an honor to walk the path Mississippi civil rights icons paved decades ago. 

Serving his 15th term in the United States House of Representatives, Rep.Thompson represents Mississippi’s Second Congressional District where he has spent his entire life fighting to improve the lives of all people. He is the longest-serving African-American elected official in the State of Mississippi and the lone Democrat in the Mississippi Congressional Delegation.

Rep. Thompson began his grassroots political activism being a civil rights champion through the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) while a student at Tougaloo College – a private historically black college in Jackson, Miss. He organized voter registration drives for African-Americans throughout the Mississippi Delta on behalf of the organization before graduating and following in the footsteps of his mother by becoming a school teacher. During his tenure educating the youth of Mississippi, a fire inside of Thompson was ignited pushing him to be a voice to the voiceless through elected office.

This year’s Social Justice Impact Award will go to Attorney Benjamin Crump, a nationally recognized civil rights lawyer. Listed amongst the Most Influential People of 2021 by TIME100, Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 Most Influential African Americans, The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers, and the 2014 NNPA Newsmaker of the Year, Ben Crump is referred to as “Black America’s Attorney General.” 

Through a steadfast dedication to justice and service, renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Crump has established himself as one of the nation’s foremost lawyers and advocates for social justice, winning a number of record settlements and verdicts for victims and families that have faced injustice. He has worked on some of the most high-profile cases in the U.S., most recently representing the family of Tyre Nichols, as well as the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, the residents of Flint, Michigan, who were severely affected by the pollution of the Flint River, and the family of Henrietta Lacks in a landmark reparations case. In 2021, St. Thomas University College of Law announced the Benjamin L. Crump Center for Social Justice in his honor, which will open doors for minority students pursuing law degrees. His book, published in October 2019, Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, reflects on the landmark cases he has battled, and how discrimination in the courthouse devastates real families and communities. He is the founder and principal owner of Ben Crump Law.

The public can now vote to determine the winners of the “54th NAACP Image Awards” by visiting Voting closes on February 10, 2023. Winners will be revealed during the “54th NAACP Image Awards” telecast on February 25, 2023 on BET. NAACP will also recognize winners in non-televised Image Awards categories virtually February 20-23  on and at an Awards Dinner and Program February 24.  For all information and the latest news, please follow NAACP Image Awards on Instagram @NAACPImageAwards. The “54th NAACP Image Awards” is presented by Wells Fargo and sponsored by Bank of America, Gushers, Lowe’s, Airbnb, FedEx, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

Globally recognized as one of the most distinguished multicultural awards shows, the “54th NAACP Image Awards” will continue a tradition of excellence, uplifting values that inspire equality, justice, and progressive change, and highlighting artists committed to that purpose. 

One of the most iconic annual celebrations of Black excellence, the NAACP Image Awards draws the biggest and brightest stars in Hollywood. Previous years’ attendees and winners include Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Hudson, Rihanna, Wizkid, Lizzo, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Michael B. Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry & Meghan Markle, Jamie Foxx, Chloe x Halle, Regé-Jean Page, Daniel Kaluuya, Michaela Coel, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Blair Underwood, Will Smith, Taraji P. Henson, Marsai Martin, Viola Davis, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Anthony Anderson, Sterling K. Brown, Loni Love, Sheryl Underwood, Halle Berry, Common, Dwayne Johnson, Audra Day, John Legend, Lena Waithe, Tracee Ellis Ross, David Oyelowo, Laverne Cox, Octavia Spencer, Issa Rae, Trevor Noah, Yara Shahidi, Danai Gurira, Jacob Latimore, Jill Scott, H.E.R., Jay Pharoah, Jemele Hill, Loretta Devine, Sylvester Stallone, Meta Golding, Michael Smith, Tyler James Williams, Ava DuVernay, the late Chadwick Boseman, and many more.

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About NAACP:

Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization, and shares our commitment to equal rights.

About BET:

BET, a unit of Paramount (NASDAQ: PARAA; PARA; PARAP), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news, and public affairs television programming for the African American audience. The primary BET channel is in 125 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa, and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions, including BET+, the preeminent streaming service for the Black audience;, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, a growing BET festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.

NAACP Image Awards Media Contacts:

Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis |

Jonah Bryson |

Chloe Duverge |

Luis DeFrank |