Mary J. Blige (Monet) was honored with Icon Award at 2022 Billboard Music Awards: 'I Finally Found That Real Love Is Me'

Mary J. Blige is still on top! 

The diva got the coveted Billboard Icon Award from 2018 winner Janet Jackson during the 2022 Billboard Music Awards ceremony on Sunday. 

Blige, 54, stated that becoming a legend "takes a lot of time, hard work, and a lot of surviving trial and error to achieve greatness," after dubbing Jackson, 56, one of her "greatest inspirations growing up." 

"What an icon means to me is overcoming hurdles to achieve the unfathomable and being universally admired for having impact over a variety of people," the nine-time Grammy Award winner added, as the audience applauded.

Blige quipped later in her address, after reflecting on how far she has come and the women whose lives she has impacted via her music, "I was ghetto fabulous, and I still am," adding, "People were threatened by that." 

"My music has always conveyed the notion that we are not alone in our challenges. And I'm no longer alone "she continued. "I had been looking for a true love for a long time and had finally found it. And I am that true love." 

Following a 1995 album of the year triumph for My Life and nine trophies during her The Breakthrough album era in 2006, this is Blige's eleventh Billboard Music Award win. 

She expressed her gratitude for receiving the prestigious prize ahead of time. 

"My career has been such an incredible and unexpected journey that has included many turns into avenues I never could have imagined," she said in a statement. "It has included many turns into avenues I never could have imagined like acting, producing, launching businesses, and now even my own music festival." 

She went on, "Throughout it all, I always found myself returning to my first love, music. Being honored with the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards at this time is a wonderful honor, and one that I am deeply humbled by." 

Blige joins former A-list awardees Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Cher, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Garth Brooks, and Pink in receiving the Billboard icon award. 

Blige's 2022 has already been jam-packed, with the release of her 14th studio album, Good Morning Gorgeous, on Feb. 11 — two days before she performed at the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show alongside Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and special guests 50 Cent and Anderson Paak. 

The "Just Fine" singer spoke to PEOPLE ahead of the halftime show about representing women in an otherwise male-dominated performance. 

"I've always appreciated the fact that I'm regarded by my male counterparts. I've never had an issue with any of my male classmates "At the time, she stated. "And I have a lot of male fans as well." 

The Billboard Music Awards will be broadcast live from Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena on NBC and Peacock at 8 p.m. EST.


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