Grammy Award-winning singer Mary J. Blige received the Icon Award at the 2022 Billboard Awards on Sunday and thanked God for helping her channel the pain of her life into her music.
Blige, known as the “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” in the music industry, received Janet Jackson’s High Honor. Jackson said, “Mary J. Blige represents truth,” before presenting her with the award.
“His work has always given us comfort because it represents me and you,” Jackson said.
Dressed in a revealing dress, Blige was escorted by Sean “Diddy” Combs onto the stage at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas to deliver her acceptance speech.
“I’m in a dream right now. Thank you so much,” Blige said at the top of her acceptance speech.
“The way the world is now, I think people think icons are born that way. They become a legend overnight. But that’s definitely not the case,” the New York native explained. York. “It takes a lot of time, hard work, and a lot of surviving trial and error to achieve greatness.
Blige defined an icon as someone who overcomes “the odds to accomplish the unthinkable”.
She continued, “I’ve been on this journey for a long time, one that hasn’t always looked like what you see me now, one that’s filled with a lot of heartache and pain. God helped me channel those emotions and experiences into my music.
“The message of my music has always been that we are not alone in our struggles. And I’m not alone now,” Blige said. “For so long I searched for true love, but I finally found my true love, and that true love is me.”
Blige ended her speech by thanking several people in her life, beginning with a testimony to God.
“There is no ‘I’ in the team. So I want to thank all my team members for helping me,” she said.
“First of all, my Almighty, My all, my source, God,” she said. “Because without his love, protection and guidance, there is none of this!”
In 2020, Blige underscored her faith when she teamed up with Queen Latifah and Missy Eliot to produce the Lifetime TV movie “The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel,” based on the lives of the legendary singing siblings.
During a press conference for the film, Blige spoke about the impact the sisters (Jacky Cullum Chisholm, Denise “Niecy” Clark Bradford, Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark, Dorinda Clark-Cole and Karen Clark Sheard) have had. on his life.
“I learned so much from them. They just have the anointing,” Blige said.
“Seeing their story was like seeing what our angels are going through? They were my earth angels. So we all want to see what their life was like. What did they sacrifice? What did they give up to save our lives? That’s why we’re telling the story,” she said.
The icon award marked Blige’s 11th Billboard Music Award. In 1995, she received the album of the year award for My life. She won nine trophies in 2006 for her Discoveryalbum.
Ahead of winning this year’s Billboard award, Blige shared her gratitude in a statement shared by People.
“My career has been such an amazing and unexpected journey that has included many turns in avenues I could never have imagined such as performing, producing, starting businesses and now even my own music festival,” Blige said.
“Through it all, I have always somehow returned to my first love, music. To be recognized in this way right now, with the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards, is an incredible honor. and one that I am truly humbled by.”
Janet Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Celine Dion, Cher, Mariah Carey and Garth Brooks, to name a few, also received the Billboard Icon Award.