Willis Edwards, longtime president of the Beverly Hills/Hollywood branch of the NAACP and key to launching the NAACP Image Awards on national television, died Friday in Mission Hills, California, according to a spokeswoman for Providence Holy Cross Medical Center.
Edwards, born in Texas and raised in Palm Springs, California, was 66.
Edwards became active in politics while attending California State University, Los Angeles, according to TheHistoryMakers.com, which preserves the life stories of thousands of African-Americans.
Edwards served on the Social Services Commission after Tom Bradley was elected Los Angeles mayor, according to Lauren Tobin, a spokeswoman for the Edwards family.
Although the Image Awards have had many ups and downs and controversies within the community, the thought of having such was definitely on point, given the dearth of awards among African Americans in most of the media forms.