Fantasia Sings and Sheds Tears After Winning NAACP Image Award

Fantasia Barrino accepts the "Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture" award onstage during the 55th NAACP Image Awards at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on March 16, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

Winning an NAACP Image Award brought a flood of emotions for Fantasia Barrino.

The singer and actress played the abused Celie in The Color Purple, and picked up the Image Award for outstanding actress in a motion picture Saturday night in Los Angeles.

Fantasia, who was overlooked when the nominations were announced for this year’s Oscars and Screen Actors Guild Awards, told the audience she was surprised by her victory.

“I don’t even have a speech because I didn’t think I was going to win,” the multi-hyphenate said through tears. “I was afraid to play Celie, but I’m glad I did because I kept saying, ‘If I don’t win an award, the awards that I will win is the people who will watch The Color Purple and the women who will relate to her and will feel like Oscars when they walk out.’”

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She praised family members who encouraged her to believe in herself.

“I want to say thank you to my grandmother, who is in heaven right now, and my mother, who was the first queen that I saw who carried herself with elegance and class. [She] showed me that any room that I walked in, I didn’t have to compete with no one,” Fantasia said. “She always kept God first and I will continue to do the same.”

She thanked Image Awards voters for believing in her, and held up her trophy.

“This does not make me, but I thank you for it. But everything that I went through, God, God, God and only God,” she said.

Before leaving the stage, she sang an a cappella version of the hymn, “To God Be the Glory,” and received a standing ovation from the audience.

You can watch Fantasia’s speech below: