“I come from a very different background from my incredible wife, yet our lives were brought together for a reason."
All eyes were on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday, Feb. 26, when the royal couple took to the stage at the 53rd NAACP Image Awards, which marked the couple's first Hollywood show appearance since they’ve moved to California in 2020. Not only did they attend, but their Archewell Foundation was awarded the President’s Award, which meant Harry and Meghan delivered a speech on behalf of their nonprofit and its goals to uplift and unite communities through compassion. If you’re looking for some serious inspiration, watch Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s 2022 NAACP Image Awards speech.
Although the couple launched the Archewell Foundation only two years ago, they have excelled in supporting efforts for racial and social justice issues through the nonprofit. By accepting the President’s Award, the former Duke and Duchess join the ranks of past recipients like Muhammad Ali, Condoleezza Rice, LeBron James, and Rihanna.
“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,” Meghan said, kicking off their speech. “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.”
Fans captured full speech and shared the videos on Twitter during the ceremony.
Prince Harry continued his speech by highlighting how he and Meghan continue to connect over their activism. “I also echo the immense gratitude for tonight, both for this award and this community for welcoming me so warmly,” he said. “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.”
Meghan and Harry have also partnered with NAACP to introduce a new annual award to the program. On Saturday, Feb. 26, the couple presented the first recipient of the NAACP Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award, an award that will highlight leaders advancing civil rights change “at the intersection of social justice and technology.”
The new award was presented to Dr. Safiya Noble, who is the co-founder of the University of Los Angeles center for critical internet inquiry, and a partner to the Archewell Foundation.
Harry highlight Dr. Noble’s essential work in his speech. “Safiya's work speaks to a new chapter in the movement for civil rights,” he said. “This community knows what it means to speak up for what is right and to march for what is just. As this fight for justice still remains, it's time to extend this march to the world online, a place where hate and discrimination are fueled instantly, propagated globally and felt deeply.”
Meghan closed their speech by thanking followers and supporters of their work in the digital justice movement. “We are proud to partner with NAACP and each of you to translate the vital efforts of those who came before us to the modern challenges that exist ahead of us,” she said. “Thank you so much for joining us in this work, and thank you again for this incredible honor. Truly.”
It’s clear that while the charismatic couple may have moved away from royal duties, they have never stopped focusing on philanthropic efforts to serve their community.