Singer Beyoncé was honored Sunday with the Humanitarian Award during the 20th annual BET Awards ceremony.
The award was presented by former first lady Michelle Obama, who said Beyonce “has been lighting up the stages and gracing the world with her talent, with her generosity of spirit and with her love for her community.”
Obama added that “you can see it in everything she does from her music that gives voice to Black joy and Black pain to her activism that demands justice for Black lives.”
In a pre-recorded acceptance video for the event, which was virtual for the first time due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Beyoncé dedicated the award to the protesters “marching and fighting for change,” saying they inspired her.
“Your voices are being heard and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain,” said the mother of three children, who also urged people to vote in the Nov. 3 election.
“I’m encouraging you to continue to take action, continue to change and dismantle racist and unequal systems,” she said. “We have to continue to do this together. Continue to fight for each other and lift each other up because there are people banking on us staying at home during local elections and primaries happening in states across the country. We have to vote like our life depended on it because it does.”