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Rihanna calls for unity at NAACP Image Awards

The chart-topping singer then reflected on her philanthropic efforts.

FILE: Rihanna. Picture: Instagram/badgalriri.

LONDON - Pop star Rihanna called for unity as she won the President's Award during 51st NAACP Image Awards.

The 32-year-old singer was handed the prestigious accolade during the ceremony at the Pasadena Convention Center in recognition of her "groundbreaking career as an artist and musician", as well as being a "stellar public servant".

During her appearance at the show - which honours the achievements of people of colour in motion pictures, TV, music, and literature - Rihanna said: "I'm going to try to keep this simple, because tonight really isn't about me.

"Because the purpose is bigger than me ... My part is a very small part of the work that's being done in this world - and the work that's yet to be done."

The chart-topping singer then reflected on her philanthropic efforts.

She said: "If there's anything that I've learned, we can only fix this world together. We can't do it divided. I cannot emphasise that enough.

"We cannot let the de-sensitivity seep in. The, 'If it's your problem, it's not mine'... When we're marching and protesting and posting about the Michael Brown Jr.'s and the Atatiana Jefferson's of the world, tell your friends to pull up.

"We have been denied opportunities since the beginning of time, and still we prevail. Imagine what we could do together."

Previous recipients of the prestigious award include Ella Fitzgerald, Kerry Washington and Spike Lee.

Elsewhere, Lizzo was named the Entertainer of the Year, having enjoyed a meteoric rise over the last 12 months.

The 31-year-old star overcame competition from Angela Basset, Billy Porter, Regina King and Tyler Perry to win the coveted gong.

Meanwhile, Michael B. Jordan won the Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture prize for his performances in Just Mercy.

Michael's co-star Jamie Foxx beat the likes of Leslie Odom, Wesley Snipes, Tituss Burgess and Sterling K. Brown to win the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture accolade.

Lupita Nyong'o won the award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for her performance in Us, seeing off competition from Alfre Woodard, Cynthia Erivo, Jodie Turner-Smith and Naomie Harris to claim the gong.

What's more, Little star Marsai Martin was named the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, as well as being the winner of the Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture prize.

NAACP Image Awards winners:

Entertainer of the Year: Lizzo

Outstanding Motion Picture: Just Mercy

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture: Michael B Jordan

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture: Lupita Nyong'o

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture: Jamie Foxx

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Marsai Martin

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in Motion Picture: Marsai Martin

Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture: Just Mercy

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture: Dolemite is My Name

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance: James Earl Jones

Outstanding Comedy Series: Black-ish

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series: Anthony Anderson

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series: Tracee Ellis Ross

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Deon Cole

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Marsai Martin

Outstanding Drama Series: Greenleaf

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series: Omari Hardwick

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series: Angela Bassett

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Harold Perrineau

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Lynn Whitfield

Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special: When They See Us

Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special: Jharrel Jerome

Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special: Niecy Nash

Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series: Anya Adams

Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series: 50 Cent

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Television): Rashid Johnson

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Film): Chiwetel Ejiofor

Outstanding Album: Beyonce

Outstanding New Artist: Lil Nas X

Outstanding Male Artist: Bruno Mars

Outstanding Female Artist: Beyonce