Rihanna and Lizzo praised for powerful speeches at NAACP Image Awards

Rihanna delivered a powerful speech at the NAACP Image Awards, as she accepted the President’s Award for her charity work.

The artist was honoured for her fundraising efforts with charities including Raising Malawi, UNICEF and the Clara Lionel Foundation, the emergency preparedness charity she founded in honour of her grandparents.

To date, Rihanna has raised millions of dollars for disaster relief and children’s education overseas. In 2017, she was named Harvard’s Humanitarian of the Year.

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“I’m lucky I was able to start the Clara Lionel Foundation in 2012. And if there’s anything that I’ve learned it’s that we can only fix this world together,” she said. 

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1/8 ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’ (2018)

In 2018, Rihanna served as co-chair at the Met Gala, alongside Donna Karan and Amal Clooney. The singer paid tribute to the theme with her extravagant ensemble, a custom creation designed by John Galliano. Fans of the star dubbed her ‘Pope Rihanna’, thanks largely to her silver, papal mitre.

Getty Images

2/8 ‘Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art Of The In-Between’ (2017)

The theme for the 2017 Met Gala took inspiration from Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo and her fashion label, Comme des Garçons. Rihanna wore a bold ensemble by the fashion label at the event, which featured a complex floral design.

Getty Images

3/8 ‘China: Through The Looking Glass’ (2015)

Arguably one of Rihanna’s most famous Met Gala looks, in 2015 the star stood out on the red carpet wearing an ornate, yellow gown by Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei, which took two years to make. The singer came across the creation on the Internet while researching a design ahead of the event’s theme. She later performed for the other guests at the ball.

Getty Images

4/8 ‘Charles James: Beyond Fashion’ (2014)

Rihanna took a more subtle approach at the Met Ball in 2014, wearing a white, two-piece outfit by Stella McCartney. The star accessorised with white, pointed pumps by Christian Louboutin, and wore diamond studs and a choker necklace by Jacob & Co.

Getty Images

5/8 ‘Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations’ (2012)

In 2012, Rihanna opted for a black, backless floor-length gown by American fashion designer Tom Ford. Described on the Tom Ford website as one of the designer’s “muses”, the singer paired the embossed crocodile leather dress with Christian Louboutin heels.

Getty Images

6/8 ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ (2011)

The ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ exhibition was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2011, just over a year after the British fashion designer’s death. Rihanna donned a sheer, one-shoulder dress with black, floral patterning by Stella McCartney for the Met Gala, wearing her hair in a long, red plait.

Getty Images

7/8 ‘The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion’ (2009)

In 2009, Rihanna rocked up on the Met Gala red carpet wearing a cropped trouser suit by Dolce and Gabbana. The singer’s fourth studio album, Rated R, was released that year.

Rex Features

8/8 ‘Poiret: King Of Fashion’ (2007)

In 2007, a 19-year-old Rihanna attended the Met Gala wearing a white gown by haute couture fashion designer Georges Chakra. The star was all smiles as she carried a red rose on the red carpet.

Getty Images

1/8 ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’ (2018)

In 2018, Rihanna served as co-chair at the Met Gala, alongside Donna Karan and Amal Clooney. The singer paid tribute to the theme with her extravagant ensemble, a custom creation designed by John Galliano. Fans of the star dubbed her ‘Pope Rihanna’, thanks largely to her silver, papal mitre.

Getty Images

2/8 ‘Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art Of The In-Between’ (2017)

The theme for the 2017 Met Gala took inspiration from Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo and her fashion label, Comme des Garçons. Rihanna wore a bold ensemble by the fashion label at the event, which featured a complex floral design.

Getty Images

3/8 ‘China: Through The Looking Glass’ (2015)

Arguably one of Rihanna’s most famous Met Gala looks, in 2015 the star stood out on the red carpet wearing an ornate, yellow gown by Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei, which took two years to make. The singer came across the creation on the Internet while researching a design ahead of the event’s theme. She later performed for the other guests at the ball.

Getty Images

4/8 ‘Charles James: Beyond Fashion’ (2014)

Rihanna took a more subtle approach at the Met Ball in 2014, wearing a white, two-piece outfit by Stella McCartney. The star accessorised with white, pointed pumps by Christian Louboutin, and wore diamond studs and a choker necklace by Jacob & Co.

Getty Images

5/8 ‘Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations’ (2012)

In 2012, Rihanna opted for a black, backless floor-length gown by American fashion designer Tom Ford. Described on the Tom Ford website as one of the designer’s “muses”, the singer paired the embossed crocodile leather dress with Christian Louboutin heels.

Getty Images

6/8 ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ (2011)

The ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ exhibition was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2011, just over a year after the British fashion designer’s death. Rihanna donned a sheer, one-shoulder dress with black, floral patterning by Stella McCartney for the Met Gala, wearing her hair in a long, red plait.

Getty Images

7/8 ‘The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion’ (2009)

In 2009, Rihanna rocked up on the Met Gala red carpet wearing a cropped trouser suit by Dolce and Gabbana. The singer’s fourth studio album, Rated R, was released that year.

Rex Features

8/8 ‘Poiret: King Of Fashion’ (2007)

In 2007, a 19-year-old Rihanna attended the Met Gala wearing a white gown by haute couture fashion designer Georges Chakra. The star was all smiles as she carried a red rose on the red carpet.

Getty Images

“We can’t do it divided. I cannot emphasize that enough. We can’t let the de-sensitivity seep in. The, ‘If it’s your problem, then 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?” she continued. “Show of hands. Well, 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 juniors and Atatiana Jeffersons of the World, tell your friends to pull up.”

At the same event, Lizzo was named entertainer of the year and used her platform to make a similar message of unity.


Lizzo accepts her prize for Entertainer of the Year (Getty Images for BET)

“I just want to shout out all the big black girls I bring onstage with me,” she said. “I do that because I want them to know they are the trophies. 

“Since this is the final award of the night, I don’t even want to make it about me. Every last one of you: you are the award. We are so special. We are such a beautiful people. This is just a reminder of all the incredible things that we can do.”

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