Lizzo said during her speech that she was initially hesitant to accept the award—which has previously gone to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Tyler Perry—because she didn’t “need a trophy for championing people.”
“I am here tonight, because to be an icon isn’t about how long you have had your platform,” Lizzo said. “Being an icon is what you do with that platform. Ever since the beginning of my career, I have used my platform to amplify marginalized voices, so tonight I am sharing this honor.”
While accepting the People’s Champion Award, she shared the moment with 17 activists who she invited on stage.
She was joined by Breonna Taylor‘s mother, Tamika Palmer, who has sought justice for her daughter’s 2020 killing; Mari Copeny, known as “Little Miss Flint” for raising awareness toward the water crisis in Flint, Mich.; Shirley Raines, nationally recognized for providing unhoused people in Los Angeles’ Skid Row with essential resources; and Maggie Mireles Thomas, sister to teacher Eva Mireles who was killed in the Robb Elementary shooting in Uvalde, Texas this year.
Lizzo also brought up activists Yasmine Aker, Emiliana Guereca, Esther Young Lim, Felicia “Fe” Montes, Jayla Rose Sullivan, Kara Roselle Smith, Amelia Bonow, Odilia Romero, Rabbi Tarlan Rabizadeh, Sahar Pirzada, Chandi Moore, Crystal Echo Hawk and Reshma Saujani.