Mary J. Blige Declares “I Was Ghetto Fabulous And I Still Am,” Accepting Icon Award At Billboard Music Awards 2002 

Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige received the honor from fellow Icon Award winner Janet Jackson who received the accolade in 2018.

Mary J. Blige received the Icon Award from fellow music royalty Janet Jackson during Sunday night’s (May 15) Billboard Music Awards 2022.  

The legendary songstress is the seventh woman to receive the honor, one of whom is Janet Jackson, who collected the award in 2018. The Icon Award has only been presented 11 times in the show’s history.  

BBMA host Diddy escorted Mary J. Blige to the stage as the crowd erupted in applause. “I’m in a dream right now,” she said before thanking the audience at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas. 

“What an icon means to me is overcoming obstacles to accomplish the unthinkable and be widely admired for having influence over a multitude of people and that is what I always represented,” she continued. “I’ve been on this journey for a long time, one that didn’t always look the way you see me now, one that is filled with a lot of heartache and pain but God helped me to channel those experiences and emotions in my music which is where I started in music.” 

The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul

She then went on to say that the introduction of “The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” was the “beginning of a movement.”  

“Every inner-city girl was recognized in their own and could relate to everything I was saying,” she added. She also acknowledged that “every female artist that came into the game” wanted to emulate her and still does. “I was ghetto fabulous and I still am,” Mary J. Blige said with a laugh. “So ghetto, so fabulous and people were threatened by that. And now everybody want to be ghetto fabulous.”  

 She reflected on how the “message of my music has always been that we are not alone in our struggles. And I’m not alone now. For so long I was searching for a real love but I finally found my real love and that real love is me. Who’s managing Mary J. Blige now? Me.”  

After thanking her family, friends, and her team, she concluded by paying tribute to her “phenomenal, diehard, unbelievable fans.” 

Mary J. Blige Accepts Her Icon Award