Will Packer played cheerleader for women of colour at the NAACP Image Awards on Monday (15 January).
The 43-year-old producer graced the stage at Pasadena’s Civic Auditorium to accept the award for Outstanding Motion Picture for 2016’s hit movie Girls Trip.
Stood alongside the film’s director Malcolm Lee, Packer thanked the comedy movie’s female lead cast while also making a political statement following President Donald Trump’s controversial comments about “s**thole countries”.
Packer told the star-studded audience: “We stand up here before you as brothers, for our sisters. This is for you, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Tiffany Haddish and all the other melanin-infused sisters, especially the ones from Haiti and Africa – we love you, and your brothers, we need you, you support us. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Girls Trip follows character Ryan Pierce (King) and her childhood best friends as they reunite for a weekend trip to New Orleans for the Essence Music Festival. The comedy made history in 2016 after becoming the first film written by, starring and directed by black people to pass the $100m sales mark at the box office.
It seems the Essence festival holds particularly special memories for Packer, who revealed its true meaning during his speech.
Referring to his wife, Heather Packer, the filmmaker said: “Eight years ago I met this amazing woman at this festival down in New Orleans. At this festival black women were empowered to be whoever they wanted to be, celebrate the way they want to celebrate without worrying about men or society or confirming for anybody else.”
He continued: “I left that festival and two things happened. Number one: I married that woman, her name is Heather Packer, I love you. She changed my life. Number two: I told Malcolm Lee, I said, ‘I got that movie that we’ve been talking about making for so long’.”
Other winners at the NAACP Image Awards include Ava DuVernay for Entertainer of the Year, Daniel Kaluuya for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for his role in Get Out, Power for Outstanding Drama Series and Octavia Spencer for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture in Gifted.