BEVERLY HILLS, CA (February 15, 2023) – Today, the NAACP and BET announced that actress, producer, and best-selling author Gabrielle Union-Wade and three-time NBA Champion entrepreneur and producer, Dwyane Wade will receive the prestigious President's Award during the "54th NAACP Image Awards" airing Saturday, February 25, 2023, at 8:00 PM ET on BET and 8:00 PM PT on delay.
The President's Award is presented in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service, with previous recipients including Rihanna, LeBron James, Prince Harry & Meghan Markle, Muhammad Ali, Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Shawn "JAY-Z" Carter, Lauryn Hill and Soledad O'Brien, among others.
"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. "We're proud to recognize the couple's tireless humanitarian work as they continue to advocate for equality and acceptance for all."
"Gabrielle Union-Wade and Dwyane Wade are exemplary in their purpose-driven leadership and use of their collective platforms for good," said Scott Mills, President & CEO, BET. "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."
The Wade Family Foundation provides relief to marginalized communities in need, helping to advance racial justice and LGBTQ equality. Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union-Wade have made headlines for their philanthropic efforts to support organizations providing healthcare for the LGBTQ community. The couple has also worked to help raise money for the LGBTQ nonprofit GLSEN, which is dedicated to ending bullying and discrimination in schools. The Wade Family Foundation provides relief to marginalized communities in need, helping to advance racial justice and LGBTQ equality.
Gabrielle has personally, and with the support of her various partnerships, donated to the Van Ness Recovery House, Leap for Ladies, Out Nebraska, Deborah's Place, Harvest House, and Baltimore Safe Haven. In addition to financial contributions, Gabrielle is focused on using her platform as a public figure to bring awareness to the work these organizations and others are doing to support underrepresented communities.
Additionally, her haircare line Flawless has 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 produces an annual event that provides monetary and mentoring opportunities to companies and organizations.
Dwyane co-founded Social Change Fund United with Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony to invest in and support organizations focused on empowering communities of color and advocating for the human rights of all Black lives.
In 2016, Wade launched his Spotlight On initiative after the loss of his cousin to gun violence in Chicago. The initiative aims to give youth hope for a better future by shining a spotlight on youth in the community who are actively changing the city for the better and are empowering others to make change happen. His activism against gun violence continued when Wade brought awareness to the need for stronger gun control laws by supporting Parkland students during March for Our Lives and by launching a Parkland 17 art exhibit at Florida Art Walk to honor the seventeen lives lost.
Through Wade Cellars, Dwyane is an active supporter of the Roots Fund, a nonprofit organization providing resources to Black and Brown scholars interested in the wine industry by way of financial support, educational scholarships, wine education, mentorship, and job placement. In 2021, he joined the UC Davis Executive Leadership Board for the department of Viticulture and Enology to support their efforts in bringing more diversity to the wine industry.
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union-Wade have co-authored the New York Times bestselling children's book, Shady Baby, which is based on their daughter Kaavia James. The couple has also co-founded Proudly, a sustainable baby care brand made specifically for babies and children of color.
Winners of the "54th NAACP Image Awards" will be revealed via telecast on February 25, 2023, on BET. NAACP will also recognize winners in non-televised Image Awards categories virtually February 20-23 via naacpimageawards.net and at an Awards Dinner and Program on February 24.
The "54th NAACP Image Awards" is presented by Wells Fargo and sponsored by Bank of America, Gushers, Google, Airbnb, Amazon, FedEx, Lowe's, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Audible, Bacardi, and Mielle.
Globally recognized as one of the most distinguished multicultural award shows, the "54th NAACP Image Awards" will continue a tradition of excellence, uplifting values that inspire equality, justice, and progressive change, and highlighting artists committed to these values.
One of the most iconic annual celebrations of Black excellence, the NAACP Image Awards draws the biggest and brightest stars in Hollywood. Previous years' attendees and winners include Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Hudson, Rihanna, Wizkid, Lizzo, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Michael B. Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry & Meghan Markle, Jamie Foxx, Chloe x Halle, Regé-Jean Page, Daniel Kaluuya, Michaela Coel, Cliff "Method Man" Smith, Blair Underwood, Will Smith, Taraji P. Henson, Marsai Martin, Viola Davis, Gabrielle Union-Wade, Kerry Washington, Anthony Anderson, Sterling K. Brown, Loni Love, Sheryl Underwood, Halle Berry, Common, Dwayne Johnson, Audra Day, John Legend, Lena Waithe, Tracee Ellis Ross, David Oyelowo, Laverne Cox, Octavia Spencer, Issa Rae, Trevor Noah, Yara Shahidi, Danai Gurira, Jacob Latimore, Jill Scott, H.E.R., Jay Pharoah, Jemele Hill, Loretta Devine, Sylvester Stallone, Meta Golding, Michael Smith, Tyler James Williams, Ava DuVernay, the late Chadwick Boseman, and many more.
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Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
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NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation's first civil and human rights law organization, and shares our commitment to equal rights.
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