The actor is one of the most recognized actors of his generation and, during Saturday night's NAACP Image Awards, he received the prestigious Chairman's Award, an honor recognizing individuals who demonstrate exemplary public service and use of their platforms as agents of change. Past recipients include the late U.S. Congressman John Lewis, Danny Glover, Tyler Perry and Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
Prior to accepting the award, Jackson's contribution to various causes, including health, civil rights and other issues that merit changes, were highlighted by the NAACP. Standing in his home and holding his trophy, the veteran actor thanked everyone who helped and supported him along the way.
"First of all thank you Mr. Leon W. Russell and the NAACP for bestowing this prestigious award on me. In the words of Marion Wright Edelman, 'Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not just something we do in our spare time.' I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up in a lot of different eras, where I had the opportunity to use my voice, my legs, my body to fight for things that were right,” the Pulp Fiction star began his speech.
"From Civil Rights to the Vietnam War to Morehouse College and a lot of other things that needed fixing and changing. And we got it done. And right now, we have things that we still need to do. The most important thing, being the Voting Rights Act.”
Jackson continued with his inspiring message, “I know we can’t change that but, we can put our legs, our bodies and our voices to work to make sure that people do go out and vote, no matter what they do to keep us from doing it. And I hope you all will do that. And maybe one day, somebody will end up with one of these because you used your legs and your body."
As one of the highest-grossing actors of all time, Jackson has featured in over 100 films. He's had some of the most iconic roles in cinema history, such as Jules Winnfield, the philosopher hitman, in Pulp Fiction; the ice-powered hero Lucious Best, better known as Frozone, in Pixar's The Incredibles; and, of course, the enigmatic Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And in March, Jackson will be making his starring-role debut in the Apple+ TV series, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. The 73-year-old actor plays Ptolemy Grey, a man with dementia, in the six-part adaptation of Walter Mosley’s best-selling novel.
The series premieres Friday, March 11 on Apple TV+ with the first two episodes, followed by one new episode weekly, every Friday.
Other celebrities, including Jazmine Sullivan, Letitia Wright, Trevor Noah, and more, earned wins before Saturday night. The week-long event honors people of color across television, music, literature and film. It began with virtual award ceremonies before commencing with Saturday's live telecast, which also honored Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project, with the Social Justice Impact Award.