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During the NAACP Image Awards, writer-director, actor, producer and author Spike Lee was presented with this year’s President’s Award.

The NAACP President’s Award, chosen by NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks, is bestowed in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service. Past honorees include Van Jones, President Bill Clinton, Soledad O’Brien, Ruby Dee, Muhammad Ali, the founding members of the Black Stuntmen’s Association and, most recently, Kerry Washington.

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During his acceptance speech Lee highlighted the struggle African Americans continuously face in Hollywood saying, “We got to keep going you know; it’s a tough business. I used to say it’s a tough ’em-effin’ business.” 

He later added, “This stuff is rigged. It’s not set up for us to win. It’s always been like that since we were stolen from mother Africa more than 400 years. We always find to make a way.”

Watch Spike Lee’s NAACP Image Awards President’s Award acceptance speech in the video clip above.

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