During last Sunday’s broadcast of the 2022 Billboard Awards, Mary J. Blige’s icon status was reaffirmed when the proclaimed Queen of Hip Hop and R&B received the 2022 Billboard Icon Award. The songstress, who is the eleventh recipient and seventh woman to receive the honor was presented with the award by 2018 recipient Janet Jackson.
She was escorted to the stage by the evening’s host, Diddy, while the crowd erupted in applause.
Taking the stage, Blige started off “I’m in a dream right now.” Before taking a moment to acknowledge the meaning of being an icon. “What an icon means to me is overcoming obstacles to accomplish the unthinkable and be widely admired for having influence over a multitude of people, and that is what I’ve always represented.”
Reflecting on her journey she continued, “I’ve been on this journey for a long time, one that didn’t always look the way you see me now, one that is filled with a lot of heartache and pain, but God helped me to channel those experiences and emotions into my music, which is where I started, in music.”
With a career that spans decades, Mary J. Blige is one of the most successful R&B/Hip Hop artists of our time. Her chic style and relatable lyrics have influenced generations. She jokingly pointed out, “I was ghetto fabulous and I still am. So ghetto, so fabulous. And people were threatened by that. And now everybody want to be ghetto fabulous.”
Before closing out her acceptance speech with thank yous to her team and fans, Blige delivered what may have been the most riveting piece of testimony. “The message in my music has always been that we are not alone in our struggles and I’m not alone now. For so long I was searching for a real love, but I finally found my real love and that real love is me.”
The Icon Award recognizes artists who have achieved excellence on Billboard charts and made a lasting mark on music.
According to Billboard, Blige has amassed four No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 (Share My World, Love & Life, The Breakthrough, and Growing Pains) and one No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 “Family Affair.”
Previous recipients of the award include Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Cher, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Garth Brooks, and Pink.