John Legend was honored on Friday (Feb. 5) with the President’s Award at the 47th Annual NAACP Image Awards for his involvement in social issues and his outstanding philanthropic work.
During the live broadcast at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, NAACP president Cornell William Brooks presented the award to Legend before a video played showing all the work that Legend has done.
To further honor the singer through song, Empire’s Jussie Smollett sang Legend’s 2005 hit “Ordinary People,” and singer-songwriter Alice Smith performed a stirring version of his Oscar-winning song “Glory” from Selma.
Legend accepted the award after singing his hit “All of Me” and thanked his team, his wife Chrissy Teigen, and the NAACP. He followed with a powerful speech that touched on his hopes for radical change in our lifetime.
“Now, some will call you divisive for speaking out for a disenfranchised people. Some will call you a radical for calling for justice for all. Some will take offense when we have to assert that our lives should indeed matter, just as much as anyone else’s. Some will call you the real racist for daring to call out racial inequality. But they know better. And we certainly know better,” he said.
He concluded his speech by saying, “Fighting for justice isn’t an act of hate, it’s an act of love. So let’s spread love, let’s make the world a more beautiful and just place. We have so much opportunity, let’s not waste it.”
Watch the tribute performances and Legend’s speech below!
(Photos by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)