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Beyoncé receives BET Humanitarian Award from Michelle Obama

The former first lady gave a speech honoring the singer for her philanthropic efforts and presented her with the Humanitarian Award at Sunday's BET Awards.
/ Source: TODAY

Beyoncé received the prestigious BET Humanitarian Award on Sunday night from a good friend who knows firsthand how the singer has worked to give back to the community.

Former first lady Michelle Obama, who worked on her Let's Move! campaign with Beyoncé during her time in the White House, gave a pretaped speech during the virtual BET Awards honoring the music star for all of her charitable efforts.

"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," Obama said. "She's always turning up, looking out and making us all a little bit better, a little more fierce, and she's doing it all while staying devoted to her children and the loved ones she holds dear.

"So to my girl, I just want to say, you inspire me. You inspire all of us."

Beyoncé was honored for her philanthropic work through the BeyGOOD initiative, which has included helping her hometown of Houston following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and currently during the coronavirus pandemic.

She has helped provide free COVID-19 testing and mental health services in Houston during the pandemic, as well as a dedicated wing in a Houston hospital and assistance for families in need.

The initiative also has created scholarships and support for historically Black colleges and universities in addition to funding humanitarian causes everywhere from the African nation of Burundi to Flint, Michigan.

"It's about giving and paying it forward, and that's what BeyGOOD does," entertainment mogul Tyler Perry said in a video tribute. "And that's what Beyoncé has done."

In her acceptance speech, Beyoncé saluted all of those who have been protesting racial injustice since the death of George Floyd last month and urged everyone to get out and vote.

"I want to dedicate this award to all of my brothers out there, all of my sisters out there inspiring me - marching and fighting for change," she said. "Your voices are being heard, and you're proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain.

"Now we have one more thing we need to do to walk in our true power, and that is to vote. I'm encouraging you to continue to take action — continue to change and dismantle a racist and unequal system. 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 depends on it because it does. So please continue to be the change you want to see."

Sunday was also a special night for Blue Ivy Carter, Beyoncé's 8-year-old daughter with husband Jay-Z. Blue Ivy became the youngest winner in the award show's 20-year history when she shared in the BET Her prize with her mother and artists Wizkid and Saint Jhn for their collaboration on the song "Brown Skin Girl."