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Janet Jackson honours Mary J Blige at Billboard Music Awards

Mary J Blige speaks after receiving the Icon Award from Janet Jackson at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, US on Sunday. Picture: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Mary J Blige speaks after receiving the Icon Award from Janet Jackson at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, US on Sunday. Picture: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Published May 16, 2022

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Janet Jackson made a surprise appearance at the Billboard Music Awards to honour Mary J Blige.

The pop legend took to the stage at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday nigh to present fellow singer Blige with the Icon Award.

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After stepping into the spotlight, the rarely-seen Jackson was treated to a standing ovation from the adoring crowd.

She then turned her attention to Blige and gave a touching speech in tribute to the “Family Affair” hitmaker.

Jackson said: “Mary J Blige represents truth. Her work has always given us comfort because she sings me, she sings you.”

She then went on to reference one of Blige’s most famous songs, “No More Drama”, saying: “I reminisce, but I'm not going to 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 J Blige speaks after receiving the Icon Award at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, US on Sunday. Picture: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Blige fought back tears as she thanked Jackson and gave an emotional speech with nods to her family and friends.

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She said: “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’ve always represented.”

Blige then joked: “I was ghetto fabulous, and I still am … So ghetto, so fabulous, and people were threatened by that.”

The singer went on to say: “The message in 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.”

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She ended her speech by thanking her fans, saying: “I’m so grateful to have you.”

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