Billboard Music Awards 2022: Janet Jackson makes surprise appearance, presents Icon Award to Mary J. Blige
Grammy Award-winning artist, Mary J. Blige, becomes the 11th performer to receive the award.
Janet Jackson seldom appears on television, but when she walked out unexpectedly in her top hat and tuxedo attire to award her friend Mary J. Blige with the lifetime achievement Icon Award at Sunday's 2022 Billboard Music Awards, she was met with a standing ovation of her own.
Ms. Jackson was in attendance to present Blige with the Billboard Icon Award, which she herself earned in 2018. It was suspicious that it took Jackson so long to get the award, but at least MJB received hers. "Mary J. Blige represents truth," Jackson said as per Entertainment Weekly. "Her work has always given us comfort because she sings me, she sings you." Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union, H.E.R., and others sent in videos recognizing the indisputable Queen of Hip-Hop Soul even if they couldn't be there in person.
Jackson continued, quoting some of Blige’s most iconic songs: “Mary J. Blige represents truth. Her work has always given us comfort because she sings me, she sings you. I reminisce, but I'm not gon’ cry, because even though sometimes it feels like every day it rains, I've got no more drama. I'm just fine with my life, my life, my life, my life. In the sunshine, Mary has made a commitment to her fans to always be her authentic self now — that's real love.” However, when Blige stepped out to make her own address, she returned Jackson's affection, telling him, “Speaking of icons, you were always one of our biggest inspirations growing up.”
Despite the fact that Jackson and Blige stole the show at this year's Billboard Music Awards without even singing, the three-hour telecast featured many A-list performers, including Silk Sonic, Megan Thee Stallion, Ed Sheeran, Dan + Shay, Machine Gun Kelly, Miranda Lambert and Elle King, Florence + the Machine, Latto, Becky G, Maxwell to name a few.