Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to Receive Special Award at the NAACP Image Awards: 'It's a True Honor'

The star-studded award show will be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's first Hollywood appearance since moving to California in 2020

Prince Harry and Meghan
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will make their first big Hollywood appearance on Saturday at the NAACP Image Awards.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are set to receive the President's Award in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service. Past recipients include Muhammad Ali, Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, LeBron James and Rihanna. The awards will air on Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. ET on BET.

Through the couple's Archewell Foundation, which they launched in 2020, Harry and Meghan have supported efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and focused their attention on the Black Lives Matter movement and fighting for racial justice.

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"It's a true honor to be recognized by President Derrick Johnson and the NAACP, whose efforts to propel racial justice and civil rights are as vital today as they were nearly 115 years ago," the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in a statement.

The couple has also teamed up with the NAACP on a new annual award, which will recognize leaders creating transformational change—at the intersection of social justice and technology—to advance civil and human rights. Each year, the honoree will be awarded a $100,000 unrestricted stipend to be used to continue to make an impact in the field.

"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, which will be bestowed to Dr. Safiya Noble as part of the 53rd NAACP Image Awards," Meghan and Harry added.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry The Duke And Duchess Of Sussex Visit One World Observatory
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Taylor Hill/WireImage

Dr. Noble is an internet studies scholar and Professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies at UCLA and was recognized as a MacArthur Fellow for her ground-breaking work on algorithmic discrimination, which enabled her founding of Equity Engine, a non-profit committed to creating the conditions for Black women and women of color to thrive through access to education, investments, mentorship and mutual aid.

"We're thrilled to present this award to Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who together have heeded the call to social justice and have joined the struggle for equity both in the US and around the world," said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP. "Not only do they continue to lead by example, The Duke and Duchess have also decided to inspire the next generation of activists through the NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award, ensuring the support and recognition of generations of civil rights leaders to come."

The 53rd NAACP Image Awards airs live on Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. ET on BET and will include a performance by Mary J. Blige and appearances by Issa Rae, Kerry Washington, LL Cool J, Samuel L. Jackson, Tiffany Haddish, Zendaya and more.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty

Meghan and Harry, who are parents to 2-year-old Archie and 8-month-old Lili, have made a handful of public appearances since moving to California in 2020. At the start of the pandemic, they quietly volunteered throughout the Los Angeles area, bringing meals to those in need and helping at a back-to-school drive.

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Earlier this month, Harry made a surprise appearance at the Super Bowl alongside his cousin, Princess Eugenie, who was visiting the couple with her husband Jack Brooksbank and their 1-year-old son August.

A friend previously told PEOPLE that Meghan and Harry are "loving life in California."

"They are so happy," the friend added. "They are creating roots here in the States."

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