Arts and Entertainment
Billboard Music Awards: Janet Jackson first black woman to get Icon Award
Six-time Grammy Award winner Janet Jackson graced the Billboard Music Awards stage to receive the prestigious Icon Award — becoming the first black woman to get it — on Sunday. Not only was the moment her first television performance in nine years, but it was also the first time she performed as a mother.
Bruno Mars surprised fans by taking the stage to introduce Janet, reports people.com.
He spoke of her accolades and following a moving montage of her life and career, from the Jackson family’s humble beginnings in Gary, Indiana to her global chart-topping success, he ended his intro naming her “the first black woman to ever receive the Billboard Icon Award”.
Janet hit the stage in a sparkling gold sweatshirt dress and shiny gold thigh-high shoes as she sang her 1986 hit “Nasty”, as her mother Katherine and other family members, including nephew Prince Michael, beamed from the audience.
In her acceptance speech, she said: “I’m deeply humbled and grateful for this award. I believe that for all the challenges, all of our challenges, we live a great moment in history. It’s a moment that at long last women have made it clear that we will not be controlled, manipulated or abused.”
Janet, whose brother Randy opened up to people.com last September about her painful divorce, told the audience: “I stand with those women and those men.”
Sharing a message on faith, Janet said: “Our public discourse is loud and harsh. My prayer is that weary of such noise, we will turn back to the source of all calmness, that source is God. Everything we lack, God has in abundance: compassion, sensitivity, patience and boundless love.
“Again I want to thank all of you for this honour and I thank God for giving me the precious energy that lets me live my life as an artist who every day seeks to expand my capacity to love.”
Janet, who has garnered a total of 18 Billboard Music Award nominations and 10 wins, joins a group of iconic winners including Neil Diamond (2011), Stevie Wonder (2012), Prince (2013), Jennifer Lopez (2014), Céline Dion (2016) and Cher (2017).