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Janet Jackson becomes first black woman to receive Icon Award at Billboard Awards

Janet onstage during the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. (Getty)
Janet onstage during the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. (Getty)

Janet Jackson has become the first black woman to win the Icon Award at this year’s Billboard Music Awards.

Bruno Mars was the one to surprise everyone, least of all her fans, when he announced her to the stage at the glizty Las Vegas event.

After Mars introduced her as ‘the first black woman to ever receive the Billboard Icon Award,’ the star, 52, emerged and burst into song with her 1986 song Nasty, before performing 1993’s Throb, as the crowds went wild.

Afterwards, she took to the stage once more, as she addressed the crowd with a poignant speech.

‘Look who it is! @BrunoMars takes the stage to present the Icon Award to @JanetJackson.

After the crowds had stopped chanting her name, she said some words on how grateful she was:

‘I’m deeply humbled and grateful for this award,’ she started.

‘I believe that for all the challenges, all of our challenges, we live a great moment in history. It’s a moment that at long last women have made it clear that we will not be controlled, manipulated or abused,’ she said about the current #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

‘After rocking the stage with her incredible performance, @JanetJackson accepts the 2018 Icon Award!

She followed that up with a faith-inspired message to everyone listening:

‘Our public discourse is loud and harsh. My prayer is that weary of such noise, we will turn back to the source of all calmness, that source is God.

‘Everything we lack, God has in abundance: compassion, sensitivity, patience and boundless love. Again I want to thank all of you for this honor and I thank God for giving me the precious energy that lets me live my life as an artist who every day seeks to expand my capacity to love.’

Bruno Mrs bows down to Janet Jackson at the Billboard Awards. (Getty)
Bruno Mrs bows down to Janet Jackson at the Billboard Awards. (Getty)

It’s the first time the singer has performed in almost a decade, and 14 years since her infamous SuperBowl performance with Justin Timberlake when he exposed her breast.

Jackson joins six other music legends who’ve also picked up the Icon award since its conception in 2011. They comprise of its inaugural winner Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Jennifer Lopez, Céline Dion, and last year’s recipient Cher.

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