Janet Jackson made a rare public appearance to honour Mary J. Blige at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night.
The Together Again singer received a standing ovation from the audience at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas when she walked onto the stage to present the Icon Award.
“What makes an icon? Is it the ability to create, explore and practically pioneer an entire musical genre? Is it the amassing of millions of dedicated fans that breathe your art daily? The same fans to whom you constantly show love? Is it a multi-decade career full of not only hits but those songs that make you feel a certain way when you hear them?” she said. “The answer is all of the above, the answer is tonight’s recipient of the 2022 Billboard Icon Award, Mary J. Blige.”
According to Entertainment Weekly, the No More Drama hitmaker also received video tributes from the likes of Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, Taraji P. Henson and Gabrielle Union before she accepted her honour.
“I’m in a dream right now,” she began. “What an icon means to me is overcoming obstacles to accomplish the unthinkable and be wildly admired for having influence over a multitude of people, and that is what I’ve always represented.
“I’ve been on this journey for a long time. One that didn’t always look the way you see me now. One that was filled with a lot of heartache and pain. But God helped me to channel those experiences and emotions into my music.”
Previous Icon honorees include Pink, Stevie Wonder, Cher, Prince, Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez, while Janet received the honour in 2018.