Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade accepted the President’s Award at the 2023 NAACP Image Awards on Saturday night (Feb. 25). The couple both delivered emotional speeches that captivated audience members in the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
Wade dedicated his portion of the acceptance speech to his trans daughter Zaya. “Thank you guys for that ovation,” he said. “We don’t stand up here alone as we know it takes a village. It takes a community.”
Speaking to being “intentional” when he uses his platform, the former Miami Heat player continued, “I wanna take this moment to publicly speak to our daughter Zaya. Zaya, as your father, all I’ve wanted to do is get it right. I’ve sat back and watched how gracefully you’ve taken on the public scrutiny. And even though its not easy, I watched you walk out of that house every morning as yourself. I’ve admired how you’ve handle the ignorance in our world.”
Elsewhere in his speech, he added, “As your father, my job isn’t to create a version of myself or direct your future, my role is to be your facilitator to your hopes, your wishes, your dreams. Zaya you’ve made me a better human just simply by being who you were born to be, our baby girl Zaya Wade.”
Following her husband’s heartfelt speech, Union delivered a more piercing statement and spoke about the injustices LGBTQIA+, trans, and gender non-conforming individuals face, highlighting the fact that Black trans people are being “targeting,” “terrorized,” and “hunted” everywhere. “Will we fight for some, or will we fight for all of our people?” she asked before the audience.
“This is a conversation worth having in ways that can actually build bridges,” she added. “That don’t fan the flames of hatred or division. That don’t enable law makers or justice systems to look the other way when Black trans people are under attack. That don’t drive more young people to hate themselves or harm themselves. That don’t cost people their lives.”
The beloved actress ended their acceptance speech saying, “So we are humbled, and we are hopeful for the future. We are hopeful that we may witness a real shift in the fight for justice, the moment the movement makes room for everyone.”
Check out the couple passionate acceptance speech for the NAACP’s President’s Award.