The Men in Black star was among the celebrities on hand for the annual gala, which is held by the organisation of the same name, that aims to uplift young black girls.

Pinkett Smith, along with the couple's teenage daughter Willow Smith, was on hand to receive the Star Power award for setting a positive example and it was given to her by her actor husband.

Before presenting his wife with the prize, Smith gushed about her, even alluding to recent rumours that suggested they were heading towards a split after nearly 20 years of marriage.

He said, "In that brief moment my heart jumped for a second and I started to imagine what my life would have been like without that woman."

When Pinkett Smith took to the stage to accept the accolade, she encouraged young black women to be aware of their own strength, saying, "I need you to understand that we are the women who marched from cotton fields into fields of medicine... politics... entertainment. We have found a way to march into a White House."

Incidentally, First Lady Michelle Obama was also on hand to give a speech to the crowd and the other honourees, including singer Erykah Badu, actress Cicely Tyson and Selma director Ava DuVernay.

Singers including Jill Scott, Estelle and Sister Sledge were among the performers.

The four-hour event held at Newark's New Jersey Performing Arts Center will air in America on 5 April (15).