Janet Jackson presented Mary J. Blige with the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards last night (May 15). “Mary J. Blige represents truth. Her work has always given us comfort because she sings me, she sings you,” Jackson, who received the same award in 2018, said in her introductory speech. “Mary has made a commitment to her fans to always be her authentic self. Now that’s real love.” Queen Latifah, Gabrielle Union, and Taraji P. Henson, and more honored the artist during an accompanying video montage. Watch it below.
Accepting her award, Mary J. Blige thanked her fans and a slew of collaborators who have contributed to her success. “The way the world is now, I think people think icons are born that way, they become a legend overnight, but that is definitely not the case,” she said. “It takes a lot of time, a lot of hard work, and a lot of survival, trial and error to achieve greatness. I’ve been on this journey for a long time, one that didn’t always look the way you see me now, one that is filled with a lot of heartache and pain. God helped me to channel those emotions and experiences into my music.”