Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade delivered a powerful acceptance speech about the importance of supporting the Black trans and LGBTQ community when receiving the prestigious President's Award at the 2023 NAACP Image Awards Saturday night.
"I am intentional when I use my platform. I recognize what I have been given and it is my job to uplift the voices of others and share my access and resources," Wade said.
Wade opened the speech by dedicating the award to his 15-year-old daughter, Zaya, who is transgender.
"Zaya, as your father, all I've wanted to do is get it right. I've sat back and watched how gracefully you've taken on the public scrutiny and, even though it's not easy, I've watched you walk out of that house every morning as yourself," Wade said.
The retired NBA star thanked his daughter for showing him "that there is more than just one way to communicate effectively."
"You've taught me that communication with my mouth isn't enough. I have to also communicate with my two ears and my two eyes," Wade said.
In her portion of the address, Union added a powerful push to stand in a "new era of activism," that includes supporting the trans and LGBTQ community.
"A new era that demands our collective answer to one simple question: Will we fight for some or will we fight for all of our people?" Union said. "Even as we demand equality at the top of our lungs, we consistently fail to extend our advocacy to protect some of our most vulnerable among us."
Wade and Union have been outspoken about raising a blended family. Wade shares two children, including Zaya, from a previous marriage and is the legal guardian of his nephew. While in 2018, Wade and Union welcomed a daughter together.
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In previous interviews, Wade and Union have both said they prioritize lifting up Zaya, who publicly came out as transgender in 2020.
To an emotional crowd, Wade ended his speech saying that he was "proud to be chosen" as Zaya's father.
"Zaya, you've made me a better human just simply by being who you were born to be, a baby girl, Zaya Wade," he said. "So baby thank you for showing the world what courage looks like."