Lewis Hamilton is to be named Game Changer Of The Year award at the GQ Men Of The Year Awards
The Formula One racing star will be honoured at the annual awards ceremony - which is going virtual for 2020 owing to the coronavirus pandemic - and he has opened up about his own experience with racism
29 November 2020
Speaking about his younger years, he said: "I started experiencing racism when I was five and people looked upon it so lightly, when someone would throw out these words, the bullying and the beatings and the intimidation ... My dad always said, ‘Do your talking on the track,’ so I held my tongue, but we suppress a lot of things and all my suppressed emotions came up and I was like, 'You know what? I have to do something. I cannot stay silent.’ If we all stay silent, it will continue for generations. I look at my niece and nephew and do not want them to experience what I experienced."
© 2021 Bang Showbiz, NZCity
And the 35-year-old sportsman has vowed to continue to stand up for others and big causes, after racing stars were effectively banned from wearing T-shirts with political statements after he decided to raise awareness of the Breanna Taylor case during the Tuscan Grand Prix.
Speaking to the January/February 2021 issue of GQ, he added: "If I believe it is important enough, I will. I will do it again ... Every weekend that I arrive we have the spotlight on us and every weekend there is an opportunity to raise awareness. We don’t live in a time when everything is OK. And I remember as I went through the day I was like, ‘OK, I’ve got to win this race. I can’t come second and wear this top.’ So I remember racing my heart out, pushing with every ounce for first place and I remember getting that win and I was like, ‘OK. I’m here for you, Breonna.’ And I put that shirt on and in the 70 years of our sport, no one’s ever stood up there for anything but themselves. And I was standing up there for someone else."
GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2020, in association with Hugo Boss, is available to view via British GQ’s YouTube channel on Thursday November 26, 2020 at 8pm.
GQ’s January/February 2021 issue will be available on newsstands on Friday December 4.