“Doing this role gave me so many blessings,” said Whitaker, who plays a Ugandan dictator in the film. “One was being able to go back to Africa and touch my roots.” Washington, who has been sharply criticized for uttering a gay slur on the set of his hit show, scored Best Actor for a Drama Series. “I’m humbled and honored to be recognized by the NAACP,” said Washington. “The Pursuit of Happyness,” starring Will Smith and his son, won Best-Picture honors. Keke Palmer nabbed Best Actress for “Akeelah and the Bee,” and Djimon Hounsou took Best Supporting Actor for “Blood Diamond.” “This film means a lot to me for the simple reason that I’m from Africa,” Hounsou said to loud applause. Rapper LL Cool J hosted the awards. “I won’t ask you why the chicken crossed the road,” Cool J joked, telling the crowd it was his first time as a host. “I just ask that you bear with me. I’m going to try to carry this thing with dignity.” Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama won a Literary Nonfiction Image Award for his book “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.” Vanessa Williams got the nod for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for “Ugly Betty,” which also won for Best Television Comedy Series. Prince, who was awarded Best Male Music Artist, read a poem about protecting the environment. “Fifty years from now what will they say about us?” Prince said. Chandra Wilson won Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for “Grey’s Anatomy.” She said she wished her deceased father could be there, as Friday would have been his birthday. CNN’s Soledad O’Brien was given the honorary President’s Award for her work as a journalist. Honorary recognition also included Bill Cosby’s induction into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame, and the Chairman’s Award presented to Bono.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Oscar winners Forest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson kept their championship streaks alive Friday, while “Grey’s Anatomy” star Isaiah Washington claimed a Best-Actor prize, at the 38th annual NAACP Image Awards. “Ugly Betty” took top television honors. Hudson, a former “American Idol” finalist, garnered a Best-Supporting-Actress award for her role in the musical “Dreamgirls,” the same category for which she took home an Oscar on Sunday. “There is nothing like being recognized and honored by your own,” Hudson said. Whitaker, who won a Best-Actor Oscar for “The Last King of Scotland,” earned the same prize at Friday’s ceremony, which honored projects and individuals who promote diversity in the arts.