Usher Has Special Message For 'Strong' Women In NAACP Image Awards Speech

The Super Bowl halftime show singer emphasized his love for family at Saturday's ceremony.
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Usher paid tribute to the women in his life after being recognized with the President’s Award at the 55th NAACP Image Awards on Saturday.

“They say behind or beside or with every strong man is a stronger woman and for that I thank my mother and I thank my beautiful wife, Jennifer, for holding me down,” he said, before giving a shoutout to his kids and his late grandmother, Ernestine Carter.

The singer, fresh off performing at the Super Bowl halftime show last month, got a special introduction from NAACP President Derrick Johnson before remarking on the honorary award that he dedicated to his family.

Usher, who also took home the award for Entertainer of the Year, said his mother had “made [him] understand what purpose lies with the opportunity to be able to speak to the entire world” through his music.

Usher’s philanthropic efforts include launching Project Restart, meant to help hundreds of families following Hurricane Katrina, and donating to scholarships to help students attend historically Black colleges and universities.

He also co-founded Usher’s New Look, a nonprofit focused on tackling “systemic barriers that prevent teens from graduating from high school and college,” according to its website.

Usher went on to address his mother Jonnetta Patton, the nonprofit’s co-founder, who he wanted to recognize “more than anybody.”

“Far too often in our industry do women not get the recognition that they truly deserve,” he said, adding that when his career was first picking up, “it was even harder for a mother to believe in the dreams that I had, ’cause I was unwavering — being raised without a father in our home, being raised from a single parent, it was a lot.”

“The tenacity that it took to look within a male-dominated industry to believe in your son unwaveringly ... because of that, I have this moment,” he went on.

You can checkout more of Usher’s speech below.

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