Star-studded NAACP Image Awards Celebrates Brittney Griner and Wife Cherelle in the Spirit of Adversity

The iconic NAACP Image Awards made a grand appearance on Saturday, Feb. 25, showing out for those who are stirring up conversations and leading revolutions after overcoming adverse trials.

Following an emotional homecoming, WNBA titan Brittney Griner stepped out suited and booted alongside her supportive wife, Cherelle Griner, to give thanks, receive her flowers, and show up for every American still detained overseas. The couple’s appearance was a surprise to many, but legendary rapper, actress, and show host Queen Latifah spared no time for recognition, thanks to the association.

During the 54th award ceremony, Latifah introduced the dapper couple onstage, dropping gems about the harsh reality that Black people “stay overcoming because that’s what we do.”

“As we gather here tonight, in the spirit of overcoming adversity, I want to take this moment to recognize someone who has done just that,” she added in her introduction.

The introduction prompted a standing ovation from star-studded allies and friends like Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union, and Tracee Ellis Ross. As the pair walked on stage, Cherelle began with a moment of gratitude.

“Thank you for that beautiful applause,” Cherelle said after the standing ovation. “We are just truly so thankful to all the people — many of whom are Black women and Black-led organizations — who fought so hard to bring BG home tonight.”

In December, Brittney was released from a Russian jail in a prisoner swap after spending nearly 10 months in custody. The Phoenix Mercury center had been previously playing for the Russian Premier League basketball team UMMC Ekaterinburg during her offseason, when she was stopped at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, charged with smuggling illegal drugs, tried, and then sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison colony, BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported.

“It feels so good to be here, especially with my beautiful, amazing wife and with all of y’all here today. I want to thank everyone,” said Brittney, who recently signed a one-year deal with the Phoenix Mercury.

“Let’s keep fighting to bring home every American still detained overseas.”

According to NPR, a study by the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation cited that an average of 34 Americans are wrongfully detained by foreign governments each year. That number is nearly seven times greater than it was ten years ago.