Samuel L. Jackson’s success as a world-renowned actor and film producer was celebrated Sunday when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 16th Annual BET Awards.
During his acceptance speech, Jackson reflected on his humble beginnings in Chattanooga, Tennessee and how his Aunt Etna inspired him to pursue a career in acting.
“It’s been a great ride getting here, and there’s a couple of people who are very instrumental in that. My Aunt Etna was the first person to put me in a costume of any sort,” Jackson told the audience. “She was the performing arts' fourth grade teacher in Chattanooga, Tennessee and she was in charge of making sure the Negros performed for the white school board. She never had enough boys and I lived in the house with her, so she lit the fire that started all this. She was the spark. So thank you. Love you so much for that.”
Jackson went on to credit his wife and actress, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, as well as daughter, Zoe, for their help during some of his most challenging times.
Spike Lee, who presented Jackson with the prestigious honor, recalled his initial meeting with the award-winning actor decades ago and, during his presentation, Lee dubbed him the “hardest working man” in show business.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Samuel L. Jackson way, way back in 1975 on the mighty campus of Morehouse College. Sam had graduated from the house in 1972 and was still doing theater in Atlanta,” Lee said. “I knew then and there, God-willing, one day we would work together. And I’m here to say, let’s not get it twisted, he’s one of the greatest actors on this God’s planet."
"We’ve all witnessed his performances and his drive," Lee added. "Sam is the hardest working man in show business!”
Congrats to him!
Check out Samuel L Jackson’s Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech in the clip above.