The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were present on stage at the NAACP Image Awards on February 26, 2022, to receive the President’s Award for their remarkable accomplishment and extraordinary public service. Muhammad Ali, Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, LeBron James, and Rihanna have all received the distinction. Harry and Meghan, who established the Archewell Foundation in 2020, have backed initiatives to combat the COVID-19 epidemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and social justice.
During the couple’s acceptance speech, Harry praised the Black community for their warm welcome, while Markle, who accompanied her mother, Doria Ragland, to the ceremony, expressed her pride in them. Meghan Markle remarked on the Image Awards’ heritage, which began shortly after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were approved. She stated:
“Today, we can carry on that tradition by restoring federal voting rights in our nation and carrying on the work of civil rights giants like the late John Lewis. We are tremendously honored to be here with so many great honorees.”
Prince Harry opened his speech by thanking the people of Ukraine, alluding to the country’s recent Russian invasion. He said that, despite their different origins, he and Markle have a “commitment to a life of service, a duty to oppose injustice, and a sense that the most frequently forgotten are the most vital to listen to.” The Suits star also discussed how the couple relocated to California, her home state before George Floyd was slain. “Those nine minutes and 29 seconds transcended time,” she stated of Black America, adding:
“As my husband and I engaged with the civil rights community in the months that followed, we dedicated ourselves and our organization, Archewell, to exposing those who are furthering racial fairness and development.”
— NAACP Image Awards® (@naacpimageaward) February 27, 2022
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry addressed digital justice in their acceptance speeches.
Harry and Meghan donned ensembles made by Black designers, with Meghan wearing a flowing blue gown by Christopher John Rogers and Harry wearing a tuxedo by Ozwald Boateng. They also teamed with the NAACP to develop a new prize, the NAACP Archwell Digital Civil Rights Award, to reward visionaries who achieve transformative change at the convergence of technology and social justice to promote civil and human rights.
Dr. Safiya Noble, the co-founder of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry and a prominent academic, received the new prize in recognition of her efforts. She stated:
“As the battle for justice continues, it is time to take it to the realm of the internet, a place where hatred and bigotry are fuelled immediately, spread internationally, and felt profoundly. The age of the digital justice movement is here.”
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s presence at the Oscars is their first high-profile Hollywood appearance since relocating to California in 2020. Zendaya, Mary J. Blige, Michael Strahan, Tiffany Haddish, Questlove, Morgan Freeman, Kerry Washington, and other celebrities also attended the awards presentation.
Reactions on Twitter to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s victory
The duo’s victory in the event wowed their Twitter followers. Many people praised Markle for bringing her mother to the awards ceremony. Meghan and Harry, who have two-year-old Archie and eight-month-old Lili, have made a few public appearances since arriving in California. They discreetly volunteered across Los Angeles throughout the epidemic, serving meals and aiding with back-to-school campaigns.
— Stephanie. (@qsteph) February 27, 2022