Actor-writer Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Comedy Central were the only multiple winners at the “2006 Vision Awards” presented by the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications.
Santiago-Hudson was the association's “North Star Award” winner at the 12th annual awards -- an honor given to an individual or organization in recognition of their exceptional efforts to reflect diversity. And his much-honored drama, Home Box Office's Lackawanna Blues, received its latest award as the best drama of the past year.
But the Vision Awards became one of the few programs not to also acknowledge Blues star S. Epatha Merkerson for her starring work. The drama-performance award went to newcomer Irene Bedard, star of Turner Network Television miniseries Into the West.
There was a tie for best-comedy-show honors between Comedy Central channel-mates Mind of Mencia starring Carlos Mencia and Weekends at the D.L.,which stars D.L. Hughley.
Another "King of Comedy," Steve Harvey, was honored for his comedic performance on the 2005 Comedy Awards on Black Entertainment Television.
Other 2006 Vision Award winners included:
• Best children's show: That's So Raven, Disney Channel;
• Best documentary: Save Our History: Voices of Civil Rights, The History Channel;
• Best foreign-language film: Coming Full Circle, Zee TV (all nominations in this category were from Zee TV);
• Best lifestyle show (a new category this year): Sheila Bridges: Moroccan Style,Fine Living;
• Best music/variety show: Cinema AZN, AZN;
• Best news/informational program: ESPN SportsCenter: Ten Bears,ESPN; and
• Best real-life series: Dog Days: Jackson State, College Sports Television.
Proceeds from the awards gala -- held Tuesday at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif. -- fund NAMIC's Digital Bridge Alliance Project.
This year, the grant recipient for that project is Legacy Ladies, a two-year-old project launched by 11 African-American Southern Californians. The grant will help to provide upgraded computer software, hardware, maintenance and technical support for the 258 middle-school students at the View Park Accelerated Charter School in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles. It will also help to lower the student-to-computer ratio at that minority-populated school from 8-1 to 5-1.