Artists received their flowers throughout the night at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards, but the biggest bouquet of all was reserved for Mary J. Blige. The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul was the recipient of this year’s Icon Award, which was presented to her by fellow music royalty, Queen Janet Jackson.
Janet received the Icon Award in 2018 and gladly returned to the BBMAs to present her girl MJB with the coveted trophy. After a love-filled video montage featuring a few of Mary’s famous friends like Queen Latifah and Taraji P. Henson, Miss Jackson showered the “Good Morning Gorgeous” singer with even more praise.
At one point during her speech, Janet even incorporated some of Mary’s iconic song titles. “Mary J. Blige represents truth. Her work has always given us comfort because she sings me, she sings you,” Jackson said. “I reminisce, but I’m not gon’ cry cause even though sometimes it feels like everyday it rains, I’ve got no drama. I’m just fine with my life, my life, my life, my life in the sunshine.” It was a little corny but from the heart and cute nonetheless.
After that glowing presentation, Sean “Diddy” Combs helped Mary to the stage where she embraced Janet in a warm hug before stepping to the mic to show her some love in return. Queen Mary made it clear that icons are made not born during her acceptance speech and shared her definition of the word. Amongst her litany of thank yous, she thanked Andre Harrell and Diddy for their part in making her the artist she is and molding her image, one that artists are trying to copy to this day. “I was ghetto fabulous, and I still am,” she proudly proclaimed.
Unlike previous Icon Award recipients, Mary J. Blige did not perform and there was no musical tribute in her honor. For her longtime friend and colleague Diddy to have been the executive producer of this year’s BBMAs, that was a glaring oversight and missed opportunity. The show coulda used some of Mary J.’s live energy and carrying on in thigh high boots.
Despite there being no Mary Boppin’ at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards, Mary J. Blige’s star was shining bright last night for the world to recognize and put some respect on. Watch Janet Jackson’s presentation and Mary J. Blige’s acceptance speeches right here and toast it up to these icons.