All hail the queen.
Mary J. Blige was in the spot as she received the Icon Award at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday. Janet Jackson made a surprise appearance to present the award to her friend.
“Mary J. Blige represents truth. Her work has always given us comfort because she sings me, she sings you,” said Janet.
During the video montage, more of Mary’s friends and collaborators shared tributes including H.E.R., Kiana Ledé, Ella Mai, Taraji P. Henson, Queen Latifah, and Missy Elliott.
With Diddy holding her hand, the icon herself took the stage to accept the award in a stunning cutout dress. “I’m in a dream right now,” she said.
Mary, who has sold 75 million albums throughout her career, reflected on her journey to becoming the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul after Andre Harrell and Diddy signed her to Uptown Records in 1991.
“It was the beginning of a movement. Every inner city girl was recognizing their own and could relate to everything I was saying,” she said. “Every female artist that came into the game wanted to do everything I was doing and still does to this day.”
In addition to thanking the late Andre Harrell, Diddy (“one of my biggest inspirations”), and her fans, Mary said she realized her greatest gift of all, self love.
“I finally found that real love and that real love is me,” she said.