Meghan and Harry accepted the President’s Award from the NAACP, for their record of special achievement and public service tonight marking their first joined appearance of 2022.
In a statement announcing Meghan and Harry receiving the NAACP Award, President and CEO of the NAACP Derrick Johnson said, “We’re thrilled to present this award to Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who together have heeded the call to social justice and have joined the struggle for equity both in the US and around the world. Not only do they continue to lead by example, The Duke and Duchess have also decided to inspire the next generation of activists through the NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award, ensuring the support and recognition of generations of civil rights leaders to come.”
Meghan and Harry then shared a statement on Archewell reading: “It’s a true honor to be recognized by President Derrick Johnson and the NAACP, whose efforts to propel racial justice and civil rights are as vital today as they were nearly 115 years ago”. Previous honorees include Muhammad Ali, LeBron James, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice.
Harry and Meghan accepted the NAACP Award together onstage. Meghan began their joint speech by saying: “It’s inspiring to think about the legacy surrounding the Image Awards, which began shortly after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Today, we can continue that legacy by re-establishing federal voting protections.” And Harry added: “We would like to acknowledge the people of Ukraine who urgently need our continued support as a global community. And I also echo the immense gratitude for tonight, both for this award and to this community for welcoming me so warmly. I think it’s safe to say that I come from a very different background than my incredible wife. Yet our lives were brought together for a reason. We share a commitment to a life of service, a responsibility to confront injustice, and a belief that the most often overlooked are the most important to listen to.”
Meghan and Harry began working privately with the NAACP in July 2020 after George Floyd’s murder sparked nationwide protests. NAACP President Derrick Johnson spoke with OprahMag.com afterward, expressing gratitude for Meghan and Harry’s involvement and noted their passion for issues of racial injustice. He said:
“After the George Floyd incident, we did have a conversation with them about just the state of things, as they were exploring ways that they could be supportive, in that moment. I think their concern and compassion is genuine and we really appreciate their thought partnership on how to address this most immediate issue we have.”
This work with the NAACP comes alongside Harry and Meghan’s other activist work surrounding civil rights during summertime; the pair discussed systemic racism in a video call with young leaders and supported the Facebook advertising boycott as part of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign.
Addressing the murder of George Floyd, Meghan mentioned how “for Black America, those nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds transcended time, invoking centuries of unhealed wounds. In the months that followed, as my husband and I spoke with the civil rights community, we committed ourselves and our organization, Archewell, to illuminating those who are advancing racial justice and progress.”
Harry continued: “This community knows what it means to speak up for what is right. And to march for what is just as the fight for justice still remains. It’s time to extend this march to the world online, a place where hate and discrimination are fueled instantly, propagated globally, and felt deeply.”
Meghan then added: “This is the era of the digital justice movement. We are proud to partner with NAACP and each of you to translate the vital efforts of those who came before us to the modern challenges that exist ahead of us. Thank you so much for joining us in this work.”
Meghan and Harry also teamed up with the NAACP on a new annual award, the NAACP Archwell Digital Civil Rights Award, which will recognize leaders creating transformational change – at the intersection of social justice and technology – to advance civil and human rights. The award comes with a $100,000 prize.
Derrick Johnson said the couple had “decided to inspire the next generation of activists … ensuring the support and recognition of generations of civil rights leaders to come”.
“Last night, President Johnson presented this new award to its first recipient, Dr. Safiya Noble, cofounder of the UCLA center for critical internet inquiry, a renowned scholar, author, and advocate. Dr. Noble is a visionary and partner to Archewell,” Meghan shared.
Harry added, “Safiya’s work speaks to a new chapter in the movement for civil rights. This community knows what it means to speak up for what is right and to march for what is just. As this fight for justice still remains, it’s time to extend this march to the world online, a place where hate and discrimination are fueled instantly, propagated globally and felt deeply.”
“This is the era of the digital justice movement. We are proud to partner with NAACP and each of you to translate the vital efforts of those who came before us to the modern challenges that exist ahead of us,” Meghan said. “Thank you so much for joining us in this work, and thank you again for this incredible honor. Truly.”
You can watch the speech below
Meghan ended the couple’s speech on a personal note, adding, “My mom’s here with us tonight, and we all feel very proud. Thank you.”
Below is a picture of Doria with the Sussexes and the ceremony host Anthony Anderson who also brought his mother, Doris Bowman, along too!
The NAACP Image Awards was first organized and presented on August 13, 1967, to honor outstanding performances in film, television, theatre, music, and literature. The award is presented by the U.S.-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). More than 40 categories of the Image Awards are voted on by the award organization’s members (in this case, NAACP members) just like other awards, like the Oscars and the Grammys.
The New York firm Society Awards manufactures the trophy since its redesign in 2008.
Tonight’s event comes after Harry made a surprise appearance at the Super Bowl alongside his cousin, Princess Eugenie earlier this month, who was visiting the couple with her husband Jack Brooksbank and their 1-year-old son August. The couple was also pictured out and about having a lovely dinner in Montecito. Watch the pictures below
Meghan looked radiant at tonights NAACP Award wearing a blue-ombre dress with a flowing cape, that was bold, bombastic, and quintessentially Christopher John Rogers.
“Christopher John Rogers, the New York based Black designer, is a bonafide darling of the fashion world due to his kaleidoscopic designs and impeccable tailoring. In 2021, he received the American Womenswear Designer of the Year award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, just two years after winning the grand prize from the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. His legion of celebrity fans includes Michelle Obama, Adele, Gabrielle Union, and Lady Gaga. Now the Duchess is joining their ranks, and casting a well-deserved spotlight on Rogers’s designs.
Rogers received an email from the Duchess about a month ago, asking if he’d like to work together. Soon after, they hopped on a call to virtually meet. “I was immediately struck by her warmth and just her overall demeanor—her sense of ease and confidence within herself,” says Rogers. “We quickly touched on this idea of a reveal. She hadn’t really stepped out like this in a while.” (The NAACP Awards is her first public appearance of 2022. Previously, she attended the Salute To Freedom Gala in November 2021.)“
She styled it with the Aquazzura’s Celeste Glitter Sandals
She accessorized with the Alexis Bitter Crumpled Gold post style earrings
She also accessorized with two bracelets: the gold cuff bracelet that belonged to Diana. The bracelet is set with two cabochon stones that are likely sapphires of onyx, and Diana enjoyed wearing it at balls and galas. And her Cartier Love bracelet.
I don’t usually mention Harry’s outfit – but I think this one needs a mention! He wore a bespoke piece by London-based designer Ozwald Boateng.
Thanks for reading along!