Mary J. Blige, the finest woman vocalist of the Hip-Hop era, was given a top award Sunday night. No less than Janet Jackson presented her with the Billboard Icon Award, an honor given only to a handful of performers in popular music history.

By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — The career and accomplishments of vocalist Mary J. Blige were honored Sunday night as she received the Icon Award at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards. None other than former Icon Award recipient Janet Jackson presented Blige with the honor at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. 

“Mary J. Blige represents truth,” Jackson said. “Her work has always given us comfort because she sings me, she sings you.” Artists such as Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott and H.E.R. also congratulated Blige in a taped montage before the Icon took the stage. Blige in assessing her career journey said consistency and durability were key factors,. “The way the world is now, I think people think icons are born that way,” she said. “They become a legend overnight. But that’s definitely not the case God helped me to channel those emotions and experiences into my music.” Blige also discussed how her emergence and stylistic evolution occurred during the rise of Hip-Hop, a scene she says was and still is too quickly widely dismissed by the mainstream. “I was ghetto fabulous, and I still am,” Blige said.. “And people were threatened by that. And now everyone wants to be ghetto fabulous.”

Blige is the 11th artist to receive the Icon Award, which recognizes outstanding artists who have achieved excellence on the Billboard charts and have made an indelible mark on music itself. The previous Icon Award recipients have been Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Cher, Mariah Carey, Garth Brooks, P!NK and Jackson.