Macklemore & Ryan Lewis use American Music Awards to send message

Macklemore, right, and Ryan Lewis accept the award for favorite album - rap/hip-hop for "The Heist" via satellite from Miami during the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
John Shearer/Invision/AP

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

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

"It has been an absolutely incredible year, I feel extremely blessed to be accepting an award at the AMAs. And now that I'm sitting here in front of millions of people, I'd like to address something extremely important to me," he said. "I was talking to my friend ... before the show and he reminded me of a great Martin Luther King quote -- 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'"

"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 continued. "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."

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis also picked up the award for favorite rap/hip-hop artist. They later did a performance live from Miami, which was broadcast on the show.