She came, she paaaaformed and she conquered!
Janet Jackson proved why she’s an icon and living legend with her return to the Billboard Music Awards stage Sunday, May 20.
It would be Jackson’s first TV performance in nine years and she didn’t disappoint. The 52-year-old mother was this year’s recipient of the Icon Award, but before taking the stage to give an impactful speech, Bruno Mars took the stage to introduce her.
Mars rattled off Janet’s accolades, then introduced a tribute video narrated by Samuel L. Jackson focusing on her life and legacy then enthusiastically proclaimed her “the first black woman to ever receive the Billboard Icon Award.”
— Billboard Music Awards (@BBMAs) May 21, 2018
Jackson then took center stage rocking a gold sequined sweater dress and thigh-high sneaker boots, and shut it down with a jaw-dropping performance of her hits, “Nasty,” “If” and “Throb.”
Flanked by some 50 dancers, Jackson moved seamlessly and with ease, showing off some of her signature dance moves across the stage and up a golden staircase.
After the electrifying production, that left the audience chanting “Janet! Janet!” Jackson shared heartfelt words in her acceptance speech championing women and movements like “Times Up” and #MeToo and calling out racism and discrimination.
“I believe that for all the challenges, for all our challenges, we live at a glorious moment in history,” she said. “It’s a moment where at long last, women have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated or abused. I stand with those women and with those men equally outraged by discrimination who support us in heart and mind.”
Jackson then pivoted to encourage the crowd to embrace their faith in God during a time when “our public discourse is loud and harsh.”
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