Rapper Macklemore paid tribute to tragic Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and called for an end to racial profiling as he accepted an honor at the 2013 American Music Awards via satellite from the state.
The Thrift Shop hitmaker was preparing for a gig with his producer pal Ryan Lewis on Sunday (24Nov13) when they learned they had won the Favorite Album - Rap/Hip-Hop prize for The Heist.
They delivered an acceptance speech to the audience at the Los Angeles prizegiving via video link from Miami, and Macklemore used the opportunity to urge fans and viewers to take a stand against race discrimination in the aftermath of Martin's death last year (12), when the unarmed black youth was shot by Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
Macklemore said, "It has been an absolutely incredible year, I feel extremely blessed to be accepting an award from 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...
"I was talking to my friend... before the show and he reminded me of a great Martin Luther King quote. He said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere', 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 each year that are dying due to racial profiling and the violence that follows it.
"This is really happening, these are our friends, our neighbors, our peers and our fans and it's time that we look out for the youth and fight against racism and the laws that protect it."
Zimmerman cited Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law, which allows a person to use reasonable force to defend themselves if they feel their safety is threatened, and an all-female jury agreed he was justified in taking the student's life when he was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in July (13).
The verdict prompted mass demonstrations and inspired many leading human rights leaders and celebrities, including Jay Z and Beyonce, to speak out.