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People: NAACP Image Awards to honor Rihanna | The Berkshire Eagle


NAACP Image Awards to honor Rihanna

Rihanna will receive the President’s Award during the 51st NAACP Image Awards this month.

The NAACP announced Tuesday that it had selected the 31-year-old pop star and fashion icon for her “groundbreaking career as an artist and musician, but (someone who) has also distinguished herself as a stellar public servant.”

Rihanna will be given the award during the Feb. 22 ceremony that will be televised for the first time on BET. The show will air live from Pasadena, California.

Previous recipients include Jay-Z, Muhammad Ali, Jesse Jackson and Condoleezza Rice.

Rihanna, born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, is a nine-time Grammy winner who launched her own fashion line last year called Fenty with LVMH Mo t Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury group. She also has a lingerie line, Savage X Fenty, that debuted in 2018.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson said Rihanna “epitomizes the type of character, grace and devotion to justice” that the organization seeks to highlight.

Russell Simmons doc acquired by HBO Max

The documentary about several women who have accused Russell Simmons of sexual abuse has found a distributor after Oprah Winfrey’s exit from the film left it in the lurch.

HBO Max on Monday said it acquired Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s film, “On the Record,” following its premiere last week at the Sundance Film Festival. Along with other stories, “On the Record” tracks the decision of music executive Drew Dixon to publicly state that her then-boss Simmons raped her at his New York home in 1995.

Simmons, the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, has denied all accusations of sexual abuse.

“On the Record” had been set to be released by Apple TV Plus, with Winfrey as an executive producer. But in the weeks ahead of the film’s Sundance premiere, Winfrey departed the film because she said she that while she believed Dixon, she felt more reporting was needed on her story.

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Yet “On the Record” made a strong impression at Sundance, where standing ovations greeted Dixon and other accusers, including Sil Lai Abrams and Sheri Hines. Critics called the film a powerful documentary that brings issues of race into #MeToo discussions.

Ben Platt named Hasty Pudding’s Man of the Year

Award-winning actor and musician Ben Platt was named 2020 Man of the Year by Harvard University’s famed Hasty Pudding theater troupe on Monday.

Platt, 26, is the youngest recipient in the 54-year history of the award, handed out annually by the troupe that dates to the late 18th century.

Platt will receive his pudding pot at a celebratory roast on Friday. A performance of “Mean Ghouls,” Hasty Pudding’s second production including women in the cast, will follow.

Platt won a Tony in 2017 for “Dear Evan Hansen,” while the cast recording took home the Grammy for best musical theater album, as well as a Daytime Emmy for their performance on “The Today Show.”

Platt is also known for his role as Benji Applebaum in the films “Pitch Perfect” and “Pitch Perfect 2.”

He is currently filming the second season of the Netflix series “The Politician,” which last season earned him a Golden Globe nomination.

He also stars in the film “Run This Town,” which premiered at last year’s SXSW Film Festival and will be released this spring. It was recently announced that he will star in the film adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical “Merrily We Roll Along.”

Also a musician, Platt’s debut album “Sing To Me Instead” was released last year.

Today’s birthdays: Actor David Selby (“Dark Shadows”) is 79. Actress Barbara Hershey is 72. Jennifer Jason Leigh is 58. Actor-comedian Chris Parnell is 53. Country singer Sara Evans is 49. Country singer Tyler Farr is 36. Actor-singer Darren Criss is 33. Actor Jeremy Sumpter is 31. Drummer Graham Sierota (Echosmith) is 21.

— The Associated Press

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