Janet Jackson Presents Mary J. Blige With Billboard Music’s Icon Award

made a shock look at Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards to current Mary J. with the . A wide range of artists — together with Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott and H.E.R. — despatched their congratulations to the groundbreaking R&B singer in a montage accompanying the phase.

“Mary J. represents reality. Her work has all the time given us consolation as a result of she sings me, she sings you,” mentioned, noting Blige has made “a dedication to her followers to all the time be her genuine self.”

The Grammy -winner joins artists together with Neil Diamond, Stevie Surprise, Prince, Cher, Mariah Carey, Garth Brooks — in addition to Jackson — because the eleventh recipient of the .

“It takes a number of time, a number of arduous work, and a number of survival, trial and error to realize greatness,” Blige mentioned in her acceptance speech. “I’ve been on this journey for a very long time, one which didn’t all the time look the best way you see me now, one that’s stuffed with a number of heartache and ache. God helped me to channel these feelings and experiences into my music.” The singer additionally thanked a slew of collaborators, artists, business executives and relations who contributed to her success as an artist.

Watch Blige’s acceptance speech beneath: