Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Accept President’s Award at 2022 NAACP Image Awards: ‘So Deeply Humbled’

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Accept President's Award at 2022 NAACP Image Awards
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle accept the President's Award at the 53rd NAACP Image Awards Show in Burbank on February 26, 2022. Earl Gibson III/Shutterstock

Special recognition. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were honored with the President’s Award at the 53rd NAACP Image Awards on Saturday, February 26.

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“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, began a joint speech with her husband, 37. “Today, we can continue that legacy by re-establishing federal voting protections in our country and fulfilling the work of civil rights giants, like the late John Lewis. We are so deeply humbled to be here in the company of so many illustrious awardees.”

The Duchess of Sussex, who brought mother Doria Ragland to the event, continued: “And I couldn’t be prouder that we’re doing this work together. We moved to California, my home state, shortly before the murder of George Floyd. For Black America, those nine minutes and 29 seconds transcended time, invoking centuries of our 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.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Accept President's Award at 2022 NAACP Image Awards
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle accept the President’s Award at the 53rd NAACP Image Awards Show in Burbank on February 26, 2022. Earl Gibson III/Shutterstock

The England native, for his part, felt humbled to earn the impressive trophy.

“I also echo the immense gratitude for tonight, both for this award and this community for welcoming me so warmly,” the Duke of Sussex gushed on Saturday. “I think it’s safe to say that I come from a very different background from my incredible wife, yet our lives were brought together for a reason. We share a commitment to a life of service, a responsibility to combat injustice and a belief that the most often overlooked are the most important to listen to.”

In honor of the NAACP Image Awards, the twosome both wore ensembles created by Black designers. Meghan donned a one-shoulder, blue gown by Christopher John Rogers while Harry sported an Ozwald Boateng tuxedo.

Previous recipients of the trophy include Rihanna, Jay-Z, Muhammad Ali, Lauryn Hill and LeBron James. Derrick Johnson, the president and CEO of the NAACP, said the Sussexes received the award because they have “heeded the call to social justice and have joined the struggle for equity both in the U.S. and around the world.”

Earlier this week, the Suits alum and the former military helicopter pilot announced that their charitable organization, Archewell, is partnering with the NAACP to create a new award that recognizes people working to advance the cause of civil rights.

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“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,” the prince and his wife said in a statement on Thursday, February 24. “We’re proud to support the NAACP’s work and to also partner with the organization on the newly created annual NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award, which will be bestowed to Dr. Safiya Noble as part of the 53rd NAACP Image Awards.”

Noble is an internet studies scholar and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles whose work examines the intersection of digital technologies with culture, race and gender. Last year, she won a MacArthur Fellowship, also known as a “genius grant,” for her work on algorithmic discrimination.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Accept President's Award at 2022 NAACP Image Awards
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Tamika Johnson and Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, at the 53rd NAACP Image Awards Show in Burbank on February 26, 2022. Earl Gibson III/Shutterstock

Recipients of Harry and Meghan’s new award will receive a $100,000 stipend to be used at their discretion to further their work or continue expanding their expertise in their field.

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The couple founded Archewell in 2020 after stepping down as senior royals earlier that year. The organization is named after their son Archie, 2, who arrived in May 2019. The duo also share daughter Lili, 8 months, and made their royal departure permanent in February 2021.

“We believe in the best of humanity. Because we have seen the best of humanity. We have experienced compassion and kindness, from our mothers and strangers alike,” Harry and Meghan wrote in a joint statement on Archewell’s website when the nonprofit launched. “In the face of fear, struggle and pain, it can be easy to lose sight of this. Together, we can choose courage, healing, and connection. Together, we can choose to put compassion in action. We invite you to join us. As we work to build a better world, one act of compassion at a time.”

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