On Thursday (Feb. 16), BET—in conjunction with the NAACP—announced that Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade will receive the President’s Award at the 2023 NAACP Image Awards.
The honor recognizes “notable achievement and valued public service” with past recipients including Rihanna, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Jay-Z, and LeBron James.
“We’re thrilled to present this award to Gabrielle Union-Wade and Dwyane Wade who together have consistently utilized their platforms to advance social justice and raise awareness to the inequalities existing in our country,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, in a statement. “We’re proud to recognize the couple’s tireless humanitarian work as they continue to advocate for equality and acceptance for all.”
Scott Mills, President & CEO of BET, added, “Gabrielle Union-Wade and Dwyane Wade are exemplary in their purpose-driven leadership and use of their collective platforms for good. This year’s recipients of the NAACP President’s Award are not just a timely signifier of the issues that matter most to the community; they are a testament to what is possible when one commits themselves to advancement in those areas. It is a great honor for BET to join the NAACP to amplify these issues and celebrate the leaders doing the work to drive change in our community.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the couple through their Wade Family Foundation have collectively “been at the forefront of providing relief to marginalized communities in need, helping to advance racial justice and LGBTQ equality. The activist couple has been particularly visible on matters of LGBTQ support helping raise money for the nonprofit GLSEN, which is dedicated to ending bullying and discrimination in schools.”
Union’s haircare line, Flawless, formed the Lift As We Climb initiative: a year-round effort that supports emerging Black-owned small businesses, community organizations, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs. The initiative also hosts an annual event that provides monetary and mentoring opportunities to companies and organizations.
Wade co-founded Social Change Fund United with Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony to invest in and support organizations centered around empowering communities of color and advocating for the human rights of all Black lives. The former NBA star additionally launched the Spotlight On initiative after losing his cousin to gun violence in Chicago.
The 2023 NAACP Image Awards airs live on Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BET.