2023 NAACP Image Awards: Brittney Griner Makes First On-Stage Appearance To A Standing Ovation

The Phoenix Mercury star was joined by her wife, Cherelle Griner.

At the 54th Annual NAACP Image Awards, Queen Latifah brought out two surprise guests:  WNBA star Brittney Griner and her wife Cherelle Griner, which left the crowd in complete awe and excitement.

“We are just truly so thankful to all the people, many of whom are Black women and Black organizations who fought so hard to bring BG home tonight,” said Cherelle. The WNBA spoke briefly to state that she was grateful to be there alongside her beautiful wife and went on to spread an important message.

“Let’s keep fighting to bring home every American still detained overseas,” added Brittney Griner.

2023 NAACP Image Awards

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Griner was arrested in Russia in February 2022 on charges that she brought vape cartridges carrying cannabis oil into the country, which is illegal. In December 2022, the Phoenix Mercury star was finally released from a Russian prison during a prisoner exchange after being detained for 294 days, serving a nine-year sentence.

Her wife, Cherelle was vocal behind the scenes and in front of the camera, fighting for her release while Griner was detained over the last year, promising that she would do everything in her power to get her home safely. When the WNBA star made it home, Cherelle told PEOPLE that the couple had to make up for lost time after being apart for so long.

"I had all my freedom," she said. "I had my bed. But when you have your family overseas in a situation like that, time zones play a factor. Every night, that's the only time I could talk to her attorneys and I could handle things, anything related to Russia. And so I just hadn't slept,” said Cherelle.

In Brittney’s first statement back home she wrote on Instagram, “It feels so good to be home!” she wrote on Instagram, “The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn. I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help.”

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