On Saturday, February 26, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle received the President’s Award at the 53rd NAACP Image Awards.

“It’s inspiring to think about the legacy of the Image Awards, which began shortly after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed into law,” the Bench author, 40, said as she and her husband, 37, began their joint speech. “Today, we can carry on that legacy by restoring federal voting rights in our country and carrying on the work of civil rights giants like the late John Lewis. We are deeply humbled to be here among so many illustrious awardees.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ore ensembles designed by Black designers in honor of the NAACP Image Awards.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are awarded at NAACP Image Awards.
Source: Pinterest

“And I couldn’t be prouder that we’re doing this work together,” said the Duchess of Sussex, who was accompanied to the event by her mother, Doria Ragland. “We relocated to California, my home state, shortly before George Floyd’s murder. Those nine minutes and 29 seconds transcended time for Black America, evoking centuries of unhealed wounds. As my husband and I spoke with the civil rights community in the months that followed, we committed ourselves and our organization, Archewell, to illuminating those who are advancing racial justice and progress.”

The England native, for his part, was humbled to receive the prestigious trophy. “I also echo the enormous gratitude for tonight, both for this award and for this community’s warm welcome,” the Duke of Sussex exclaimed on Saturday.

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“I believe it’s safe to say that I come from a very different background than my amazing wife, but our lives were brought together for a reason. We share a commitment to a life of service, a responsibility to fight injustice and a belief that those who are frequently overlooked are the most important to listen to.”

The twosome wore ensembles designed by Black designers in honor of the NAACP Image Awards. Meghan looked stunning in a one-shoulder blue gown by Christopher John Rogers, while Harry looked dapper in an Ozwald Boateng tuxedo.

Meghan Markle looked stunning in a one-shoulder blue gown by Christopher John Rogers.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle founded Archewell in 2020.
Source: Pinterest

Rihanna, Jay-Z, Muhammad Ali, Lauryn Hill, and LeBron James have all received the award in the past. The Sussexes received the award because they “heeded the call to social justice and have joined the struggle for equity both in the United States and around the world,” according to Derrick Johnson, president, and CEO of the NAACP.

Earlier this week, the Suits alum and former military helicopter pilot announced that their charitable organization, Archewell, is collaborating with the NAACP to create a new civil rights award.

“It’s a true honor to be recognized by President Derrick Johnson and the NAACP, whose efforts to advance racial justice and civil rights are as important today as they were nearly 115 years ago,” the prince and his wife said in a statement released on Thursday, February 24. “We are honored to support the NAACP’s work and to collaborate with the organization on the newly established annual NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award, which will be presented to Dr. Safiya Noble as part of the 53rd NAACP Image Awards.”

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Noble is an internet study scholar and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, whose research focuses on the intersections of digital technologies, culture, race, and gender. Her work on algorithmic discrimination earned her a MacArthur Fellowship, also known as a “genius grant,” last year.

Recipients of Harry and Meghan’s new award will receive a $100,000 stipend to use as they see fit to advance their work or expand their expertise in their field.

After stepping down as senior royals earlier that year, the couple founded Archewell in 2020. The organization is named after their 2-year-old son Archie, who arrived in May of this year. They also have an 8-month-old daughter, Lili, and made their royal departure permanent in February 2021.

“We believe in the best qualities of humanity. Because we’ve witnessed the best of humanity. We have felt compassion and kindness from our mothers and strangers alike,” Harry and Meghan wrote in a joint statement on Archewell’s website when the nonprofit was founded. “It’s easy to lose sight of this in the face of fear, struggle, and pain.” “We can choose courage, healing, and connection as a group. We can choose to put compassion into action as a group. We cordially invite you to join us. As we work to make the world a better place, one act of compassion at a time.”

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