Janet Jackson received the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night. Past recipients of the award have included Cher, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, and Price.
Jackson’s honor came just days after her 1993 hit album Janet celebrated its 25th anniversary. She paid tribute to that album during her medley at the BBMAs, which also happened to be her first televised performance in nine years. She kicked the set off with “Nasty,” off 1986’s Control and followed that up with two Janet tracks, “If” and “Throb.”
Bruno Mars made a surprise appearance to introduce Jackson, saying that she “represents undeniable artistic genius.” A short retrospective followed, chronicling her career from her appearance as kid on The Carol Burnett Show through to her many solo breakouts and highlighting some of her 10 Billboard #1 singles and 27 Top 10 Hits.
After the performance, Jackson took the stage for a speech. “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 when 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 or mind.”
Watch excerpts from her performance below.
— 🍦Jeremy🍦 (@Jeremy1P1) May 21, 2018