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Although dozens of CEOs, actors and activists came together Wednesday night to honor Harry Belafonte at the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights awards dinner, the highlight remained on surprise attendee, Colin Kaepernick.
The Ripple of Hope Awards dinner, which took place in New York City and was hosted by Alec Baldwin, invited big names from various entertainment, retail and tech companies to pay homage to the humanitarian work of celeb-turned-activists like Belafonte and Kaepernick.
“I think that he has focused our country on racism in the criminal justice system and that is very important, and I am eternally grateful to him for that,” said Kerry Kennedy, the president of the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation.
Kennedy’s recent work in releasing detainees in Rikers Island aligned her agenda with Kaepernick’s, who visited the controversial facility on Tuesday.
Danny Glover, a board member of the foundation and another celebrity-turned-activist, also lauded Kaepernick’s declarations after he met the football player at a visit to the 49ers camp.
“I admire him greatly. He’s in the tradition of Muhammad Ali and in the tradition of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and all of those athletes who stood up for justice,” Glover said.
The performer for the evening, Usher Raymond, also spoke frankly about Kaepernick and how he feels about the NFL’s unwillingness to sign the former quarterback after he began kneeling during the national anthem as a protest to police brutality against African Americans.
“Turn your TV off, turn your f—ing TV off. When you have a chance to not watch the NFL then don’t f—ing watch it,” Raymond said. “Don’t say that you f—ing support [Kaepernick] but you turn your TV on every Saturday and Sunday whenever there is a game.”
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