Rihanna had the crowd at the 51st annual NAACP Image Awards on their feet Saturday night as she delivered an inspirational message of “we can fix this world together” while accepting the President’s Award for her philanthropic efforts.
“Tonight is not really about me, because the purpose is bigger than me, right?” she asked attendees, who nodded in agreement. “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.”
The singer who was named in Forbes’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women of 2019 has a long record of reaching out and helping those in need. Among her numerous contributions to raise awareness and funds to combat disease and poverty, in 2006 she created the Believe Foundation in 2006 to help terminally ill children. Six years later, she founded the Clara Lionel Foundation in honor of her grandparents to ensure that millions of children gain access to education globally.
“If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that we can fix this world together,” she continued. “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?” she asked the attentive audience, who responded. “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.”
Watch her powerful speech — and the audience’s reaction — in the video above.