Music veteran Clive Davis received the Vanguard Award at the NAACP Image Awards last night. The award recognizes work that contributes to raising awareness of racial and social issues. Davis has played a major role in developing the careers of Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, TLC, Jennifer Hudson, and other recording artists, so when Davis accepted his Vanguard Award, he made a very powerful and compelling speech. The music executive said that he realized early in his career that African-American R&B artists were not treated fairly in the music business, and they were suffering financially and missing out on career opportunities.
Davis wanted to make sure black artists were recognized for their work, and compensated for their contribution to the music industry. During his speech, Davis said he was honored to receive the award from the NAACP. In 2000, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer. The music executive is also a five-time Grammy Award winner. As a producer, Davis received four Grammys for Best R&B Album (Jennifer Hudson; Jennifer Hudson), Best Pop Vocal Album (Breakaway; Kelly Clarkson), Album of the Year (Supernatural; Carlos Santana), and Best Rock Album (Supernatural; Carlos Santana). The executive was also awarded the Grammy Trustees Award in 2000.
The NAACP Image Awards also recognized the film Selma. The film received the award for Outstanding Motion Picture, and the legendary Oprah Winfrey, who starred in Selma as well as produced it, accepted the award. “This is more than a movie. It’s important that we all know who we are so we know where we’re going, and claiming the glory,” Winfrey told the audience. David Oyelowo, who played Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, won the Best Actor award. “I want to take this opportunity to say I thank the Lord I was able to play one of the most transcendent human beings who ever walked the planet,” Oyelowo said while accepting his award.
Selma will also be recognized at the Grammy Awards tonight. Beyonce, Common, and John Legend will perform as a part of a Selma tribute. Beyonce will perform the gospel song “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.” Common and John Legend will perform “Glory,” which already won a Golden Globe award for Best Original Song.