The NAACP and BET today announced that humanitarians, global leaders, and co-founders of Archewell Foundation, Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will receive the prestigious President’s Award during The 53rd NAACP Image Awards.

The President’s Award is presented in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service, with previous recipients including Muhammad Ali, Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, LeBron James, Rihanna, Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, Lauryn Hill, Soledad O’Brien, among others.

“We’re thrilled to present this award to Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who together have heeded the call to social justice and have joined the struggle for equity both in the US and around the world,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP. “Not only do they continue to lead by example, The Duke and Duchess have also decided to inspire the next generation of activists through the NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award, ensuring the support and recognition of generations of civil rights leaders to come.”

The NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award, supported by Archewell Foundation and administered by the NAACP, is a newly created annual award that recognizes leaders creating transformational change—at the intersection of social justice and technology—to advance civil and human rights. The 2022 inaugural recipient of the NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award is renowned author and scholar Dr. Safiya Noble, who has pioneered the study of how digital technologies intersect with culture, race, and gender.

The NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award seeks to recognize long-term contributors to the digital rights space while also supporting a new generation of visionaries working to expand equity, including issues related to discrimination, misinformation, privacy, countering biases, limiting profiling and surveillance, improving transparency, increasing diversity in the tech sector, and more. Each year, the honoree will be awarded a $100,000 unrestricted stipend to be used to advance new work, expand leadership and expertise, or continue to make an impact in the field.

“It’s a true honor to be recognized by President Derrick Johnson and the NAACP, whose efforts to propel racial justice and civil rights are as vital today as they were nearly 115 years ago,” said Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. “We’re proud to support the NAACP’s work and to also partner with the organization on the newly created annual NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award, which will be bestowed to Dr. Safiya Noble as part of the 53rd NAACP Image Awards.”

Dr. Noble is an internet studies scholar and Professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where she serves as the Co-Founder and Faculty Director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2), which is a partner to Archewell Foundation.

In 2021, she was recognized as a MacArthur Fellow for her ground-breaking work on algorithmic discrimination, which enabled her founding of Equity Engine, a non-profit committed to creating the conditions for Black women and women of color to thrive through access to education, investments, mentorship, and mutual aid. She is the author of a best-selling book on racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines, entitled Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (NYU Press), which has been widely-praised in scholarly and popular publications.

“At both the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, and at the Equity Engine, we are working toward greater possibilities for vulnerable people,” said Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble. “Digital civil rights and protections from harm on the internet are a crucial pathway to a more just world, and I am grateful for the support of the NAACP and Archewell Foundation for contributing to our efforts to create more compassionate and democratic societies where Black women and women of color can thrive, too.”

As previously reported, the “53rd NAACP Image Awards” will include a performance by Nine-time Grammy Award winning singer Mary J. Blige and appearances by Issa Rae, Kerry Washington, LL Cool J, Michael Strahan, Morgan Freeman, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Paula Patton, Questlove, Samuel L. Jackson, Simu Lius, Tiffany Haddish and Zendaya.

The “53rd NAACP Image Awards” are presented by Wells Fargo and sponsored by AT&T, Google, T-Mobile, Bank of America, General Mills, FedEx, and Airbnb.

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