Rihanna Shares Inspiring Speech at NAACP Image Awards: 'It's Not Bigger Than Us Together'

The star picked up the President’s Award for her philanthropic efforts

February 24, 2020

Rihanna offered up some inspiring words this weekend, accepting the President’s Award at the NAACP Image Awards in honor of her philanthropic efforts. Between setting chart records and launching a global fashion brand, the mogul and musician has raised millions for disaster relief, education, and more.

"Tonight is not really about me, because the purpose is bigger than me, right?" she said after thanking the organization. "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."

Rihanna launched her nonprofit organization, The Clara Lionel Foundation, in 2012. The program named after her grandparents seeks to provide education to everyone, to help fight injustice and inequality.

"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,” she continued. “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.’ I mean 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.”

“Thank you for celebrating our strength and tenacity,” Rihanna exclaimed of the NAACP. “We have been denied opportunities since the beginning of time and still we prevail. Imagine what we could do together. Thank you for this honor."

The President’s Award is given yearly to honorees in recognition of distinguished public service. Past winners include John Legend, Spike Lee, and Lauryn Hill.

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