Mary J. Blige receives the Icon Award from Billboard Music Awards 2022

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At the 2020 Billboard Music Awards—held at MGM Garden Area in Las Vegas on May 15—legendary singer-songwriter Mary J. Blige received the honorary Icon Award. 

Before Mary accepted her honor, a video tribute highlighting the 10-time BBA winner’s nearly 30-year career played, featuring testimonials from the likes of Taraji P. Henson, Missy Elliot, Gabrielle Union, H.E.R. And Queen Latifah.

Mary then took to stage in a sparkly cut-out mini-dress as former Icon Award recipient Janet Jackson presented her with her trophy.

Mary opened her acceptance speech by saying, “I think people believe icons are born this way because of the way the world looks now.” To achieve greatness, it takes hard work and lots of survival.

She added, “What I consider an icon is the one who overcomes obstacles in order to achieve what was impossible and to be widely respected for her influence on a lot of people.” This has been a journey that I have followed for many years. It wasn’t always how you see me today. A life that was filled with heartache, pain and God’s help. I channeled those emotions and experiences into music. That is how my journey began.