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Rihanna Touches on Unity During Speech at NAACP Image Awards: “The Purpose Is Bigger Than Me”

The global star spoke on diversity, creating the Clara Lionel Foundation and more during her President’s Award acceptance speech.

It’s always somewhat of a treat when stars like Rihanna, Beyoncé and JAY-Z attend the NAACP Image Awards. This year at the 51st awards ceremony Rihanna received the President’s Award and shared a moving acceptance speech.

The pop star and entrepreneur was honored with the prestigious award due to her philanthropic efforts throughout the globe. It’s no secret that Rihanna has raised millions that have directly gone to disaster relief and assisted with education abroad according to Billboard.

During her speech, she took the time to point out that she was lucky to found the Clara Lionel Foundation in 2012 which was named after her grandmother. Upon accepting her award, she candidly declared:

“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 is being done in this world and the work that is yet to be done.”

She went on to share:

“If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that we can fix this world together. We can’t do it divided. I can’t emphasize that enough. We can’t let the desensitivity seep in — the ‘If it’s your problem, it’s not mine.’ ‘It’s a woman’s problem.’ ‘It’s a black people problem.’ ‘It’s a poor people problem.’ How many of us in this room have colleagues and partners and friends from other races, sexes, religions? Show of hands? Well then, 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, Jr.s and the Atatiana Jeffersons of the world, tell your friends to pull up.”

Before ending her speech she shared, “Imagine what we could do together. Thank you for this honor.”

Take a look at Rihanna’s entire acceptance speech below.

Robyn Mowatt

Robyn Mowatt is a Staff Writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. You can see what's on her mind on Twitter at @robyn_mowatt.

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