Mary J. Blige was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her nearly three-decade career at the 2019 BET Awards on Sunday night. The presentation began with global superstar Rihanna, who has been inspired by the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, sharing beautiful words to the legendary singer.
“Thank you for being you so we could be comfortable being ourselves,” said RiRi to Blige before handing her the deserving trophy.
An honorary visual compilation followed with words from the likes of Queen Latifah, Diddy, Nas, Angie Martinez, and Andre Harrell, who called her a “cultural lifestyle artist.”
Blige, dressed a fitted sparkling gown and rocking big blonde hair, entered the stage to receive her award and deliver a heartfelt acceptance speech. She also dropped a gem on how she has remained relevant in this ever-changing industry.
“It’s because although I am a leader, a queen, a living legend…I’m a servant as well, and I’m here to serve. Being a servant is not always glamorous or popular but it’s the job and the assignment that I was given. It’s because, in order to be an authority, I had to learn how to come under authority. It’s because when the glory is placed on me, I give it right back to God immediately.”
After her speech and a quick costume change, Blige returned to the stage to perform a 19-minute medley of her hits including “My Life,” “No More Drama,” “I’m Going Down” and “Real Love.” She also was joined by Lil Kim to perform “I Can Love You” and Method Man for their Grammy-winning collaboration “All I Need.”