Even though they weren’t actually at the award show in Los Angeles, one of the biggest moments of the American Music Awards was made by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
After celebrating their win for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album at the 2013 American Music Awards Sunday night, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis took time to make a political statement about racial profiling. As the duo was in Florida recording the acceptance speech, rapper Macklemore took the opportunity to speak out about Trayvon Martin and a number of other cases of what he called “injustice” that have peppered the news in recent months. (George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of Martin.)
“Thank you to the AMAs. It has been an absolutely incredible year, I feel extremely blessed to be accepting an award at the AMAs. And now that I’m sitting here in front of millions of people, I’d like to address something extremely important to me,” Macklemore shared, with Lewis sitting by his side.
“I was talking to my friend … before the show and he reminded me of a great Martin Luther King quote — ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ And due to the fact that we are in Florida tonight accepting this award, I want to acknowledge Trayvon Martin and the hundreds and hundreds of kids that are dying due to racial profiling and the violence that follows it,” he continued.
Since Martin’s death and Zimmerman’s acquittal, there have been two high-profile deaths linked to racial profiling. In September, former Florida A&M football player Jonathan A. Ferrell was killed by a white police officer in North Carolina when Ferrell was seeking help after a car crash. More recently, in November, Michigan resident Renisha McBride died after she was shot by a man after knocking on his door following a car crash late at night.
“This is really happening,” the rapper said. “Our friends, our neighbors, our peers, our fans, and it’s time that we look out for the youth and fight against racism and the laws that protect it.”
Macklemore name checks the late teen in the song “A Wake.” After their moving speech, the guys took the stage in Miami, performing remotely, for a spirited rendition of their single, “Can’t Hold Us.”
Check out the speech below.