Mary J. Blige emerged as the queen of the Billboard Music Awards, which aired Sunday night on NBC.
Introduced by Janet Jackson, the legendary singer was on hand to accept the Icon Award, becoming the 11th recipient behind Stevie Wonder, Jackson, Prince, and Mariah Carey.
Accepting the prestigious award, Blige said, “What an icon means to me is overcoming obstacles to accomplish the unthinkable and be wildly admired for having influence over a multitude of people, and that is what I’ve always represented.”
Blige was originally slated to perform at the ceremony. However, she confirmed to Rocsi Diaz of E! News that she would not be taking the stage.
She also shouted out new artists such as Alex Isley, Lucky Daye, and Summer Walker, who she considers taking R&B in an “amazing direction.”
Earlier this month, Blige chose “Here With Me,” featuring Anderson .Paak, as the latest single to impact R&B radio. Lifted from her most recent album, Good Morning Gorgeous, the Bongo ByTheWay-produced cut is one of three songs with a co-songwriting credit from Paak.
She also headlined her first Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit in Atlanta. Surprises onstage included performances from Usher, Jermaine Dupri, Method Man, Summer Walker, and Ella Mai, among others.
Already, Blige, who celebrated the 25th anniversary of Share My World, scored a hit with the new album’s title track, produced and co-written by D’Mile and H.E.R. The self-care platitude is an R&B number one that also entered the Billboard Hot 100, which she hasn’t accomplished in more than a decade.
For Blige’s subsequent concert appearances, she’ll be playing at both the Roots Picnic and Florida Funk Fest in June.
Outside of music, Blige is working on a Lifetime original movie inspired by her 1992 instant classic, “Real Love.”
Check out Mary J. Blige’s acceptance speech below.