Janet Jackson Makes History, 1st Black Woman To Receive Billboard ICON Award

Janet Jackson made history last night (May 20) when she became the first black woman to win the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas.

Multi-platinum artist Bruno Mars introduced the 52-year-old Icon by noting the impact of her career to the music industry, noting she’s the first woman to record five straight No. 1 albums. “The name ‘Jackson’ represents artistic genius and iconic performance,” said Bruno Mars of the Pop legend. “The Jacksons are music royalty and the first family of entertainment. She is an activist. She’s a humanitarian. She’s a powerful woman.

Jackson performed a medley of her most popular songs ― including Nasty and Throb ― and later delivered a heartfelt speech that pledged solidarity to the #MeToo movement while calling for an end to “loud and harsh” public debate.

“I believe that for all the challenges, for all our challenges, we live at a glorious moment in history. It’s a moment when at long last women have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated or abused. I stand with those women and with those men equally outraged by discrimination who support us in heart and mind. This is also a moment when our public discourse is loud and harsh,” she added. “My prayer is that, weary of such noise, we turn back to the source of all calmness. That source — that source is God. Everything we lack, God has in abundance, compassion, sensitivity, patience and a boundless love.”