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NOV
24
5 MOS

AMAs: Macklemore References Trayvon Martin in Acceptance Speech

"It's time that we look out for the youth and fight against racism and the laws that protect it," said the pop artist.

Macklemore Ryan Lewis PR Image - P 2013
John Keatley
File photo of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Rather than thanking a list of friends and colleagues, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis used their American Music Awards acceptance speech to send a message of tolerance on Sunday night.

Ben Haggerty, the rapper known as Macklemore, accepted the award for favorite rap/hip-hop album, then quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in a live satellite feed from the rap group's latest tour stop.

"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," he said. "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."

Florida became a focal point after Martin's killer was freed under the state's stand your ground law. It was the first win of the night for Macklemore and Lewis, whose album The Heist has been an unexpected hit and made them the AMA's top nominees with six.

Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Marc Anthony and Imagine Dragons also picked up early awards.