Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will be awarded the NAACP’s top honor for distinguished public service, the civil rights organization said on Thursday.
The couple, who created the Archewell charitable foundation after stepping down from royal duties and moving to the Los Angeles area, was set to receive the prestigious President’s Award at a live broadcast of the 53rd NAACP Image Awards on Saturday, the group said.
Past winners include Jesse Jackson, Condoleeza Rice, Muhammad Ali and Colin Powell among other key African-American figures in U.S. history. More recent winners include sports and entertainment figures such as LeBron James, Rihanna and Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter.
Archewell and the NAACP have also teamed up to create a new civil rights award whose inaugural winner is Dr. Safiya Noble, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, who is known for studies into how digital technologies intersect with culture, race and gender.
“We’re proud to support the NAACP’s work and to also partner with the organization on the newly created annual NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award,” Price Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, said in a statement.
Noble will be the first winner of the annual award, which includes a $100,000 unrestricted stipend to be used to advance new work or expand leadership and expertise in the field.
A 2021 MacArthur Fellow, Noble’s book “Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism” examines racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines.
“Digital civil rights and protections from harm on the internet are a crucial pathway to a more just world,” Noble said in a statement. “We are working toward greater possibilities for vulnerable people.”
The show airing on Saturday features a performance by Mary J. Blige, and appearances by Kerry Washington, LL Cool J, Morgan Freeman, Questlove, Samuel L. Jackson, Tiffany Haddish and others.