The Weeknd was honored by the Black Music Action Coalition with the Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award at the inaugural Music in Action Awards gala last Friday (Sept. 23). During his acceptance speech, the singer was moved to tears as he shared a story about his first encounter with Jones and named the honor the “best award I’ve ever gotten in my life.”
“I actually first met Quincy Jones in Vegas a long time ago,” the Canadian singer shared. “He pulled up to one of my club shows, and when I got off stage, he was waiting on the side. I was so excited to meet him, and there were fans on the other side screaming and trying to get my attention, but I was so focused on him.”
He continued to detail how Jones directed him to engage with his fans.
“And it stuck with me until this day. He was teaching me a lesson in that moment that nothing is more important than the people, and giving back is always better than receiving.”
The “Starboy” singer was not the only person to be recognized for their dedication to creating change during the ceremony. The BMAC Social Impact Award was presented to YouTube Music and Shawn Gee of Live Nation Urban. The Clarence Avant Trailblazer Award was awarded to Motown’s Ethiopia Habtemariam and YouTube’s Tuma Basa.
Attorney Ben Crump—along with Aurora James and Dina LaPolt—was honored with the BMAC Agent of Change Award for his work on social justice issues. George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd and his nephew, Brandon Williams, presented him with the honor.
“I’m so grateful for the Black Music Action Coalition because we need all of us coming together to say that we are better than this, America,” the attorney remarked.
R&B singer H.E.R. shared the Quincy Jones Humanitarian honor with The Weeknd. She was unable to attend the ceremony.
The Black Music Action Coalition was launched in June 2020 and is a 501c3 & 501c6 nonprofit trade organization and represents the interests of Black artists before the music industry and broader society with a focus on influencing culture on matters of racial justice and equity through policy, philanthropy, and voter education.
See The Weeknd’s acceptance speech below.