Mary J Blige receives Icon of the Year Award

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 1 December 2017
Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige

Mary J Blige received the Icon of the Year Award at Billboard's Women in Music Awards 2017, and received a string of tributes form Taraji P. Henson, and other artists on the night

Mary J Blige received the Icon of the Year Award at Billboard's Women in Music Awards 2017.

The 46-year-old singer took home the prestigious title at this year's extravaganza, which took place at the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Los Angeles on Thursday (30.11.17), and the 'Family Affair' hitmaker was "so grateful, so humbled" and "so thankful" to be nominated for the gong

During her acceptance speech, the star said: "Thank you to Billboard for this honour tonight. I'm so grateful, I'm so humbled, I'm so thankful."

But Mary believes with the title comes a "huge responsibility", but the star - who filed for a divorce from her estranged husband Martin 'Kendu' Isaacs earlier this year - wants to encourage other people in difficult position in their lives that they can "make it through".

She continued: "When people look up to me, I want them to see my life and have it reflect theirs and understand that if I can make it through everything that I've made it through and still making it through, you can do it as well."

Taraji P. Henson - who starred in 'I Can Do Bad All by Myself' in 2009 alongside Mary - presented the 'Just Fine' vocalist with the award, and during her hand over the 47-year-old beauty hailed Mary as being "bold enough" to speak out about her life experiences.

The 'Empire' star said: "You know that every word that she's singing -- that drips from her mouth -- she's experienced. The fact that she's bold enough to share her truth and get so many people through broken hearts, or uplift so many people...that's a gift."

Following Taraji's speech a video was shown, which saw Puff Daddy - who was previously known as Sean Combs but has since adopted the monikers Love and Brother Love - and Ne-Yo gush about Mary.

Speaking in the clip, the 'Last Night' hitmaker said: "With Mary, it was just her voice.

"She will go down in history as the greatest female R&B singer of all-time. Queen of hip-hop soul."

During the evening Camila Cabello was honoured with Billboard's Breakthrough Artist of the Year title following her split from the girlband Fifth Harmony.

On receiving the accolade, which was presented to her by Diplo, the 'Havana' vocalist dedicated the award to her mother, Sinuhe.

She said: "The only reason I'm standing on this stage and on this soil in this country is because of one woman, my mom... thank you to the woman of life.

"I have the most incredible example of what it means to be a woman... this is for my mom."

Kelly Clarkson was also recognised with the Powerhouse award, while Kehlani took home the Breakthrough Artist gong and Grace Vanderwaal - who has recently released her new album 'Just The Beginning' - collected the Rising Star title.

Solange Knowles was the first ever star to receive the Impact Award, while Selena Gomez picked up one of the greatest accolades on the evening and was named the Woman of the Year.

And the 31-year-old artist is overwhelmed with how her work, including the celebrated project 'A Seat At The Table' has "connected" with people.

She said: "I have so much gratitude in my soul for how the way my work connected with people. When I think about the word impact, I can't think of a more humbling way to articulate the mark that I would have liked to leave on the world with this work.

"It's a new goddamn day and I'm loving it."

The 'Don't Touch My Hair' vocalist has since taken to social media to further show her gratitude to her fans for supporting her throughout her career.

She tweeted: "man thank you again and again and again to every one who has supported my journey and evolution and allowed me the space to get here im still learning and unlearning so much thank you all for these moments, for these mediums, for this year, for these past 10 years (sic)."

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