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Rihanna calls for equality at the NAACP Awards

“Oh, how ‘bout a round of applause?”

Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Rihanna has called for other races to stand up for issues that disproportionately affect the Black community.

While accepting the President’s Award at the NAACP Image Awards Saturday night (Feb. 22), Rihanna advised people to hold their friends accountable because the issues impacting Black America are everyone’s issues.

“Tonight is not really about me,” she began. “The purpose is bigger than me. It’s not bigger than us together, but it’s bigger than me. My part is a very small part of the work that’s being done in this world, and the work that is yet to be done. We can only fix this world together. We cannot do it divided. I cannot emphasize that enough.”

She continued, “If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that we can fix this world together. We can’t do it divided. I can’t emphasize that enough. We can’t let the desensitivity seep in — the ‘If it’s your problem, it’s not mine.’ ‘It’s a woman’s problem.’ ‘It’s a black people problem.’ ‘It’s a poor people problem.’”

Rihanna then asked the audience who has friends of other races, sexes and religions. “How many of us in this room have colleagues and partners and friends from other races, sexes, religions?” she question. “Show of hands? Well then, 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, Jr.’s and the Atatiana Jeffersons of the world, tell your friends to pull up.”

The fashion and beauty maven later thanked the NAACP for ensuring “equality for our communities” and “for celebrating our strength and tenacity. We’ve been denied opportunities since the beginning of time. Still, we prevail. so I’m honored. Imagine what we can do together.”

Rihanna’s call for unity as she concluded her speech ended with a standing ovation.

Check out her speech below.

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