Motown icon speaks out on civil liberties...

Stevie Wonder gave an impassioned defence of civil rights with a high profile speech this week.

The Motown icon has continually spoken out on social issues, with his classic 70s run of albums matching superlative musicianship with a keen awareness of the context he was working in.

Given the Icon Award during the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's 34th National Equal Justice Awards Dinner, he used his speech to declare his support for civil liberties.

Saying America is in "a time of crisis", he asked the audience to "stand together" in support of our basic human rights.

"A woman's right to control her body, the right to vote and our precious civil liberties are under assault," Stevie Wonder told the crowd. "Did you know that? Do you all know that? Without question. America is at a time of crisis, please hear me loud and clear. We must continue to stand together."

He added: "Let me be clear, America is right, stands strong as a world leader as a fighter for democracy around the world, but it must not forget to fight the war in poverty here in the United States of America."

"It must provide healthcare and education for our children and grandchildren, as well it must liberate itself from the hate speech and practices that are destroying the promise of America and that is equal rights and justice for all. Let me end with the words of Justice Marshall, 'When you see something wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out because this is your country, this is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.' It will be all good."

Following the speech Stevie Wonder was joined onstage by John Legend, with the duo performing Legend's 'Ordinary People'.

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