With a speech that would’ve made Martin Luther King Jr., smile with pride, Bono accepted the Chairman’s Award at the 38th annual NAACP Image Awards tonight in Los Angeles.
The 20-minute tribute included a new video detailing Bono’s long-running fight against poverty and AIDS in Africa, as well as praise from comedian Chris Tucker, who has traveled around Africa with Bono. Tucker told the Shrine Auditorium crowd, “God has blessed us with Bono.” Tucker introduced the Roots, who performed a terrific medley of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Pride,” adding their own lyrics to the former and including a snippet of the song “War” in the latter.
Bono eventually took the stage, telling the crowd about growing up in Dublin and the religious strife there, and how he was “parched for the vision that poured out of the pulpits of black America, the vision of a black reverend from Atlanta. A man who refused to hate because he knew love would do a better job.” The spirit of MLK was in the house as Bono’s speech climaxed with a King-style litany of declarations, each one beginning with “God is…” and Bono shouting louder with each one. It was breathtaking to see the crowd rise to its feet, almost row by row, as Bono spoke.
It’s the last minute of the speech that will have most folks talking.