In presenting the award, Jackson said he has always loved “Star Wars” and would have done anything to appear in an installment of the space story. He recalled telling Lucas: “I’ll be a Storm Trooper and just run across the screen. Nobody even has to know I’m in it.”
Jackson went on to play Mace Windu in the three “Star Wars” prequels.
Hudson was also a winner Friday, claiming the outstanding album prize for “I Remember Me.”
Other winners announced during the two-hour telecast hosted by Sanaa Lathan and Anthony Mackie included Regina King, named outstanding actress for her work in the drama “SouthLAnd,” and Tracee Ellis Ross and Malcolm-Jamal Warner for their lead roles in the comedy “Reed Between the Lines.”
Radio pioneer Cathy Hughes accepted the Chairman’s Award at a separate ceremony in New Jersey that was included in the broadcast on NBC.
Gospel singer Kirk Franklin closed the program with a version of Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All” before launching into his uplifting song, “Today.”
The Image Awards are presented annually by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the group’s members select the winners. As she accepted her award, King thanked the organization for “continuously providing a stage to recognize and applaud us.”
“We need it,” the “SouthLAnd” star said. “There is some magnificent talent here that would not be recognized otherwise.”
AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APSandy.