It’s no doubt that Mary J. Blige is the heart of hip-hop. The singer, who also doubles as an actress, broke into the industry in the 1990s and has been on top of her game ever since.
With her powerful vocals and excellent lyrics, the singer has carved a niche for herself and stayed true to it for decades.
She singlehandedly blazed the trail for R&B by pouring every bit of her into each of her songs, including “Be Without You,” “Real Love,” “Family Affair,” and several others.
Over the course of her career, she has become a famous singer with over 9 Grammy awards under her belt. In the next month, the star would be adding another award to her shelf: The Billboard Icon Award.
Read on for more details on the award.
‘I’m Truly Humbled’
It was announced on Thursday that the “Be Without You” crooner will receive the 2022 Billboard Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards, coming up on May 15, 2022.
This will mark Blige’s eleventh Billboard award since her 1995 award for R&B Album of the year and in 2006, where she scooped up nine awards.
In response to the honor, the singer released a statement that expressed her gratitude for receiving the award recognition.
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“My career has been such an incredible and unexpected journey that has included many turns into avenues I never could have imagined like acting, producing, launching businesses and now even my own music festival,” said the “Family Affair” performer. “Through it all, I always one way or another gravitated back to my first love, music. To be recognized in this way at this moment, with the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards, is an incredible honor and one that I am truly humbled by.”
The icon award was launched in 2011, and Blige follows predecessors of A-listers including Celine Dion, Neil Diamond, Mariah Carey, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Lopez, Garth Brooks, Cher, Janet Jackson, and Pink. The award is given to recognize outstanding artists who have topped Billboard charts and have left an indelible mark in the music industry.
The singer is also the seventh woman to receive the award, and at 51, she’s within the right range of previous icon award recipients.
Blige Performed On The Superbowl Early This Year
In February, the “Good Morning Gorgeous” singer performed her 2001 hits comprising of “Family Affair” and “No More Drama” at the Superbowl Halftime Show. This was alongside other iconic artists such as Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, and special guests Anderson .Paak and 50 Cent.
She spoke to People ahead of the show, stating that although she represented women in a male-centric industry, she was always respected by her male peers and never had any trouble with any of them.
She added that the dynamic between all performers at the Superbowl was professional and cordial, noting that everyone was like “Super Friends,” and there was no goofing around during rehearsals.
“Everybody’s just focused. No one’s pranking, everybody’s just focused and tweaking this, and being in unity on whatever we need to fix or work out.”
Blige Was Inspired By Michael Jackson For Her SuperBowl Appearance
In the same interview, the singer mentioned that she looked up to the likes of Prince and Micheal Jackson for inspiration and hoped to surpass them.
“Those were the biggest and the best to me,” she added.
She claimed that getting to perform as a guest at the 2001 Superbowl along with Nelly, Britney Spears, *NSYNC, and Aerosmith, grounded her for this moment.
She claimed that it was a “blessing” to be part of it, and she was grateful to be in the midst of those people, adding that a culmination of everything was what helped.
“It all helps, everything helps. It’s just a blessing.”
She Also Partnered With Hologic Inc To Create A Health Ad
The nine-time Grammy award winner partnered with Hologic to create a health commercial that aired during the Superbowl.
The ad, titled “Health Is Wealth,” highlights how she was still able to make time for her annual doctor’s appointments despite her busy lifestyle. She hoped to inspire other women to do the same.
Working on the ad meant a lot to her, given that she had lost a lot of female relatives to cancer over the years.
“My health is my everything. Without my health, I can’t do anything, so early detection is everything,” she explained per People.
She also said that her involvement was to reinforce space for more women and highlight the importance of preventive screenings.
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