Rihanna delivered a powerful speech at the NAACP Image Awards, as she accepted the President’s Award for her charity work.
The artist was honoured for her fundraising efforts with charities including Raising Malawi, UNICEF and the Clara Lionel Foundation, the emergency preparedness charity she founded in honour of her grandparents.
To date, Rihanna has raised millions of dollars for disaster relief and children’s education overseas. In 2017, she was named Harvard’s Humanitarian of the Year.
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“I’m lucky I was able to start the Clara Lionel Foundation in 2012. And if there’s anything that I’ve learned it’s that we can only fix this world together,” she said.
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“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?” she continued. “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.”
At the same event, Lizzo was named entertainer of the year and used her platform to make a similar message of unity.
“I just want to shout out all the big black girls I bring onstage with me,” she said. “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.”