Rihanna, Lizzo, Jamie Foxx and More honored for Black Excellence at the NAACP Image Awards

 Rihanna was this years recipient of NAACP President’s Award. The honor is bestowed on an entertainer whose commitment to philanthropy is unparalleled. Rihanna’s chosen charities which include: The Clara Lionel Foundation, Raising Malawi and UNICEF and was honored at the NAACP Image Awards show, which was broadcast live this year on BET, and introduced to the stage by Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the organization founded in 1909.

Read Rihanna’s acceptance speech in full below:

Thank you. And thank you to the staff, board and community of the NAACP, including all of you guys here in this room and everyone at home watching who’s devoted their lives and efforts toward supporting people of color.

OK, I’m going to try to keep this simple because tonight is not really about me because the purpose is bigger than me, right? It’s not bigger than us together, but it’s bigger than me because my part is a very small part of the work that’s being done in this world and the work that has yet to be done. 

I’m lucky I was able to start the Clara Lionel Foundation in 2012. And if there’s any thing that I’ve learned is that we can only fix this world together. We can’t do it divided. I cannot emphasize that enough. We can’t let the de-sensitivity seep in. The, “If it’s your problem, then it’s not mine; It’s a woman’s problem; It’s a black people problem; It’s a poor people problem.”

I mean, how many of us in this room have colleagues and partners and friends from other races, sexes, religions? Show of hands.

Well, they want to break bread with you, right? They like you? Well, then this is their problem, too.

So when we’re marching and protesting and posting about the Michael Brown juniors and Atatiana Jeffersons of the World, tell your friends to pull up.

Thank you to the NAACP for all of your efforts to ensure equality for our communities.

Thank you for celebrating our strength and tenacity. We’ve been denied opportunities since the beginning of time. Still, we prevail. so I’m honored. Imagine what we can do together. Thank you for this honor.

A relatively unknown artist until just a year ago, Lizzo was named entertainer of the year at the 51st annual NAACP Image Awards, which were presented on Jan. 22 at the Pasadena (Calif.) Civic Auditorium.

Read Lizzo’s acceptance speech below:

“Hello beautiful black people!” she said. “I just want to thank the NAACP for making this one of the most special nights. i got to meet all of my heroes tonight in this room. Miss Angela Bassett — thank you for this award. It says that I’m the entertainer of the year, but you are the entertainer, PERIOD.” The room erupted in cheers.

“I just want to shout out all the big black girls I bring onstage with me,” she continued. “I do that because I want them to know they are the trophies. Since this is the final award of the night, I don’t even want to make it about me. Every last one of you: you are the award. We are so special. We are such a beautiful people. This is just a reminder of all the incredible things that we can do. God bless you, and keep on being an award. Let’s go!”

Read Jamie Foxx’s inspirational speech below:

Jamie says it’s no coincidence, they’re following in the footsteps of the film’s hero, Bryan Stevenson — a lawyer and social justice activist, played by MBJ in “Just Mercy.” Foxx says the role speaks volumes about Jordan’s commitment to elevating black culture.

“Michael B. Jordan can do any movie he wants, but he chooses ones that speak to his people and shine a light on important issues.Foxx says there’s still a lot of work to be done and, despite criticism, it’s still important to do “the slave movie.” Watch and let him explain.”

Celebrities, activists and prominent thought leaders in the Black community descended on the Pasadena Civic Auditorium for an evening of celebrating excellence and achievement. The evening was hosted by Black-ish star Anthony Anderson. For a complete list of the winners click here.

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