The NAACP Image Awards have been the subject of controversy due to prior claims that certain nominees were undeserving of NAACP attention. In response, parties have argued that the quality of an artist's work is the salient issue, with factors such as criminal charges inconsequential in this regard. For example, in 1994, Tupac Shakur was a nominee for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for the film Poetic Justice following sexual assault charges in December 1993. In 2004, R. Kelly's Chocolate Factory was nominated for Outstanding Album while he was under indictment for charges related to child pornography.
Other nominees have faced controversy due to their portrayals of major civil rights figures. In 2003, the movie, Barbershop, received five nominations, including Outstanding Motion Picture and Outstanding Supporting Actor (for Cedric the Entertainer's performance). In the film, Cedric's character makes pejorative remarks about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Michael Jackson and Jesse Jackson, content that elicited criticism, including a boycott of the awards event by Parks herself. The rap group OutKast received six nominations in 2004 but faced criticism because they had previously recorded a song titled "Rosa Parks" which had resulted in them being sued by Parks over the use of her name.
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