Former Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith receives Trumpet Award

Exclusive: Tommie Smith received the Xernona Clayton Award of Distinction and told theGrio what it meant to him

Loading the player...

Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith, who is known for giving the Black Power salute during the 1968 Olympics, received the Xernona Clayton Award of Distinction at the 29th Annual Trumpet Awards that was held December 13.

This year’s Trumpet Award Ceremony, which airs on Bounce TV on Sunday night, is titled Bounce Trumpet Awards: Stand Up. The show’s mission is to honor African Americans who have used their platform to speak on social and racial injustices.

Tommie Smith thegrio.com
(Credit: Getty Images)

Read More: Activist athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos to be inducted into U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame

In his acceptance speech, Smith said that he was elated to receive the award and mentioned his pride in being in the company of past Trumpet Award recipients like Beyoncé, Janelle Monae, the late Congressman John Lewis, Nelson Mandela, and Sidney Poitier.

Smith also acknowledged the founder of the Trumpet Awards, Xernona Clayton, who has been widely honored for her contributions to humanity.

“I say it’s great to be among the great human rights people who sacrificed to be a member of this particular organization,” Smith told theGrio. “And I’ve been to many of the award ceremonies and there’s one for Tommie Smith, and that is now. And I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

Tommie Smith thegrio.com
(Credit: AP)

Read More: The Power Of The Fist: 50 year anniversary of Tommie Smith’s Olympic protest

The former Olympian pointed out that model and actress Naomi Campbell understood the importance of moving forward regardless of sacrifices that had to be made, and commended her for always “telling it like it is.”

Harking back to that momentous day in 1968 when he and fellow Olympian John Carlos raised a black-gloved fist during the playing of the U.S. National Anthem, Smith concluded, “You know, you gotta do what you gotta do to remain honest to who you are.”

The Trumpet Awards will air Sunday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. EST/PST on Bounce TW with the world Broadcast Premiere Of With Drawn Arms immediately following.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...