K.J. Matthews

K.J. Matthews is an Emmy and Peabody-winning journalist who has covered the entertainment industry for two decades. She began her career working as a news reporter and producer for the U.S. Network TV affiliates, including CBS, ABC, and FOX. After working for local TV affiliates, the Los Angeles native became a journalist for CNN. For nearly a decade, she covered the Hollywood industry for CNN, CNN International, CNN Digital and HLN. Her entertainment work regularly appeared on AC360, The Situation Room, Outfront with Erin Burnett, and CNN Newsroom among other shows. During her tenure at CNN, she was part of various teams that won Peabody and Emmy Awards. Currently, Matthews’s entertainment reports can be seen on BBC World TV, BBC World Service Radio, BBC Radio 5 Live, Germany’s DW News English TV Network, the UK’s Time Radio, Ireland’s RTÉ radio, and the UK’s Sky TV and podcast. Matthews  is a member of the African-American Film Critics Association and the Hollywood Creative Alliance.  She holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA, and a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from New York University.

  • Awards

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Abbott Elementary” Take Center Stage at the 54th NAACP Image Awards

ABC’s highly celebrated show Abbott Elementary and Marvel’s billion-dollar box office hit Black Panther: Wakanda Forever dominated the 54th NAACP Image Awards on Saturday, February 25, 2023. Abbott Elementary won five awards while Black Panther: Wakanda Forever took home four at the ceremony.



Moments after winning the award for Outstanding Comedy Series, creator and star of Abbott Elementary Quinta Brunson, surrounded by the entire cast onstage, praised shows like Black-ish for paving the way for the success of her show and talked about why this award is special. “We were blessed to have a wonderful experience this awards season, but there is nothing like winning an NAACP Image Award,” said Golden Globe Award-winning actress Brunson. “We’re happy that we get to make this show that is accessible to everyone but for and by us.”

The NAACP Image Awards have become a staple for actress Angela Bassett. Over the years, she’s racked up nearly 15 trophies. On Saturday, the Golden Globe Award-winning actress and Oscar nominee took home the Entertainer of the Year Award, the Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Award for her role in 9-1-1 and the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture trophy for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Moments later, she was joined onstage by Black Panther director Ryan Coogler. He and the cast won for Outstanding Motion Picture. During his acceptance speech, Coogler honored the late Chadwick Boseman. “We lost a giant,” said Coogler. “I’m honored to have been able to represent him onscreen in his last film and thank y’all for supporting us.”


Earlier in the show, host Queen Latifah began by reminding the audience that when it comes to Queen Latifah, it’s all about “Ladies First,” before her hit song of the same name was played for a few seconds while the Queen danced a bit and the audience clapped to the beat.

It was certainly a “Ladies First” night with major awards going to The Woman King actress Viola Davis, director Gina Prince-Bythewood, and tennis GOAT and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams. Prince-Bythewood won for Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture during a non-televised awards dinner on Friday. Davis won Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture, while Williams received the prestigious Jackie Robinson Sports Award. “I thank everyone who was involved with The Woman King because that was nothing but just high-octane bravery,” said Davis. “It has been my magnum opus. Thank you!”


Will Smith was not in attendance but picked up his first major win this awards season for his latest film, Apple TV+’s Emancipation.

HFPA President Helen Hoehne and HFPA Chief Diversity Officer Neil Phillips attended the NAACP Image Awards grand finale and both say these awards are essential. “The NAACP Image Awards are important and vital in recognizing the outstanding contributions of Black creatives and talent,” said Hoehne. “The HFPA is honored to partner with the NAACP,” said Phillips. “And to support its ceaseless efforts to inspire and elevate aspiring creatives from the Black community — the next generation of artists who are destined to nourish and expand our hearts, minds, and souls.”


Social justice was also centerstage at the two-hour awards show. Recently released from a Russian prison, WNBA star Brittney Griner and her wife Cherelle took to the stage to thank everyone for their support. The couple was onstage for less than two minutes, but Griner did deliver a message. “Let’s fight to bring home every American detained overseas,” she said.

Power duo actress Gabrielle Union-Wade and former NBA champion Dwyane Wade accepted the President’s Award. They were given the award for using their platforms to fight for equality and justice for the LGBTQ+ community and for fighting against discrimination in marginalized communities. Union-Wade was greeted with thunderous applause after she asked, “Will we fight for some or will we fight for all of our people?” Before she wrapped up her speech, she left the audience with a message. “Black trans people are being targeted, terrorized, and hunted in this country, every day, everywhere,” she said. “And there’s rarely a whisper about it. We honestly don’t approach this work as activists or leaders as much as we do this as parents who will do whatever we can to keep them seen and secure and safe.” 


Take a look at other winners at the NAACP Image Awards grand finale on Saturday:


Entertainer of the Year — Angela Bassett

Outstanding Motion Picture – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Will Smith — Emancipation

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Viola Davis — The Woman King        

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Tenoch Huerta Mejía — Black Panther: Wakanda Forever                                                                                      

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Angela Bassett — Black Panther: Wakanda Forever                                                                                                     

 Outstanding Independent Motion Picture – The Inspection                                   

Outstanding International Motion Picture – Bantú Mama                                     

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture Jalyn Hall — Till

Outstanding Comedy Series – Abbott Elementary                                          

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series — Cedric the Entertainer in The Neighborhood  

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series — Quinta Brunson in Abbott Elementary

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series — Tyler James Williams in Abbott Elementary

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series —Janelle James in Abbott Elementary                                                                                                              

Outstanding Drama Series — P-Valley                                                                 

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series — Nicco Annan in P-Valley                     

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series — Angela Bassett in 9-1-1                     

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series — Cliff “Method Man” Smith in Power Book II: Ghost                                                                                                            

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — Loretta Devine in P-Valley

 Outstanding Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special — The Best Man: The Final Chapters                                                                                                            

Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special — Morris Chestnut in The Best Man: The Final Chapters                                                    

Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special — Niecy Nash in Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

To see the winners from the non-televised virtual ceremonies during the week, visit