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2018 Billboard Music Awards - Show

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Janet Jackson made history last night as the first Black woman to receive the icon award at the Billboard Music Awards; a long overdue accolade.

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“Janet Jackson was the Beyonce of my era,” says my 60-year-old mother. And she’s right. Janet’s third album Control pushed the boundaries for a female artist and simultaneously launched her career into pop culture. Janet’s dance-heavy videos inspired a new era over music visuals at MTV. And, her fans

The ever-evolving pop culture icon took to the Billboard stage to accept the honor and used her platform to make a womanist statement.

“For all our challenges, we live at a glorious moment in history,” she said. “Women have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated, or abused. I stand with those women, and with men who support us, against discrimination.”

Janet, who also performed a medley of her songs, challenged the current political climate, calling the public discourse, “loud and harsh.” “My prayer is that, weary of such noise, we turn back to the source of all calmness. That source is God… Everything we lack, God has in abundance.” She spoke about “God’s love.”

Watch her epic performance below:

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2018 Billboard Music Awards - Arrivals
22 photos


For 2024’s iteration of MadameNoire and HelloBeautiful’s annual series Women to Know, we knew we wanted to celebrate the people who help make the joys of film and television possible. To create art is to create magic. This year, we spotlight Hollywood Executive’s changing the face of cinema.