delivered a powerful speech after accepting the NAACP Image Awards’ 2020 President’s Award, which the singer received for her many philanthropic efforts.
“Tonight is not really about me, because the purpose is bigger than me, right?” Rihanna said during her three-minute speech. “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 is being done in this world and the work that is yet to be done.”
In 2012, Rihanna founded the Clara Lionel Foundation, a non-profit organization named after her grandmother that “funds groundbreaking education and emergency preparedness and response programs around the world.” The singer has raised millions for the foundation thanks in part to her annual Diamond Ball gala.
“If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that we can only fix this world together. We can’t do it divided. I can not emphasize that enough. We can’t let the desensitivity 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,’” Rihanna continued.
“How many of us in this room have colleagues and partners and friends from other races, sexes, religions? Show of hands? 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 Jrs and the Atatiana Jeffersons of the world, tell your friends to pull up.”
“Rihanna has not only enjoyed a groundbreaking career as an artist and musician, but has also distinguished herself as a stellar public servant,” NAACP Derrick Johnson previously said in a statement. “From her business achievements through Fenty, to her tremendous record as an activist and philanthropist, Rihanna epitomizes the type of character, grace, and devotion to justice that we seek to highlight in our President’s Award.”