Meghan Markle and Prince Harry honoured with ‘prestigious’ new award | Royal | News

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will attend the NAACP Image Awards on Saturday. The couple, who are living in California after quitting royal duties, have been named as the recipients of the President’s Award.

The prestigious gong recognises special achievement and distinguished public service.

Harry and Meghan said in a joint statement that it was a “true honour”.

They added that the efforts by the NAACP on racial justice were as “vital” today as they were more than a hundred years ago when it was founded.

The NAACP, which stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, was set up in 1909 in response to ongoing violence against black people and is the US’s largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organisation, with more than two million activists.

Its Image Awards celebrate outstanding achievements and performances of black and minority ethnic people in the arts.

Past recipients of the President’s Award include Muhammad Ali, Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, LeBron James, Rihanna, Jay-Z and Lauryn Hill.

Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, said: “We’re thrilled to present this award to Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who together have heeded the call to social justice and have joined the struggle for equity both in the US and around the world.”

The Sussexes’ Archewell Foundation is supporting a new NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award, which recognises leaders creating “transformational change at the intersection of social justice and technology”.

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Mr Johnson added: “Not only do they continue to lead by example, the Duke and Duchess have also decided to inspire the next generation of activists through the NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award, ensuring the support and recognition of generations of civil rights leaders to come.”

This inaugural recipient is author and scholar Dr Safiya Noble, who has pioneered the study of how digital technologies intersect with culture, race, and gender.

She will receive a 100,000 US dollars unrestricted stipend to help advance new work in the field.

Harry and Meghan said in a joint statement: “It’s a true honour to be recognised by President Derrick Johnson and the NAACP, whose efforts to propel racial justice and civil rights are as vital today as they were nearly 115 years ago.

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“We’re proud to support the NAACP’s work and to also partner with the organisation on the newly created annual NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award, which will be bestowed to Dr Safiya Noble as part of the 53rd NAACP Image Awards.”

Harry and Meghan have been vocal on matters of race.

Meghan told of her “absolute devastation” at racial divisions in a speech to her old high school in June 2020 following the murder of George Floyd.

Marking Black History Month later that year, the Sussexes said there was a lost generation of “people of colour” whose contribution to UK society will remain “untapped” as long as structural racism exists.

In October 2020, Harry admitted during a conversation with Black Lives Matter supporter Patrick Hutchinson that his privileged upbringing as a member of the Royal Family meant he had no understanding of unconscious racial bias.

Meghan claimed in their bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview that an unnamed royal raised concerns with Harry about how dark their son Archie’s skin tone might be before he was born.

The Sussexes have also campaigned on global vaccine equity, while Meghan has called for paid leave for new parents in the US.

The 53rd NAACP Image Awards is being aired live in the US on February 26.

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