Janet Jackson has spoken out against abuse in a speech at last night’s Billboard Music Awards (May 20).
The pop icon was receiving her Icon prize at the annual ceremony. She is the first black woman to receive the award.
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“I believe that, for all of our challenges, we live at a glorious moment in history,” she said, referencing the recent wave of #MeToo allegations which have shaken the entertainment industry.
“At long last, women have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated, or abused,” the star said. “I stand with those women and with those men equally outraged by discrimination, who support us in heart and mind.”
— Billboard Music Awards (@BBMAs) May 21, 2018
Bruno Mars pointed out the historic win as he invited Jackson to collect her award. “The name Jackson represents artistic genius and iconic performance,” he said. Janet Jackson is the sibling of the late Michael Jackson. “The Jacksons are music royalty and the first family of entertainment,” Mars added. “She is an activist. She’s a humanitarian. She’s a powerful woman.”
Janet Jackson also performed during the ceremony, marking her first televised US live performance in nine years. She played a medley containing ‘Nasty’, ‘If’ and ‘Throb’.
Scoring 27 top 10 singles and 10 number ones throughout her career, Jackson is one of the most successful artists of all time in the United States of America.
“My prayer is that, weary of such noise, we will turn back to the source of all calmness, that source is God,” she told the audience. “Everything we lack, God has in abundance: Compassion, sensitivity, patience and boundless love.”
She follows previous Icon award winners Prince, Stevie Wonder, Cher, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez and Neil Diamond.
The pop heavyweight recently confirmed that she is working on new music. Her last full-length body of work ‘Unbreakable’ came out in 2015.
Speaking to Billboard ahead of last night’s Billboard Music Awards, she confirmed that the follow-up is underway. “I’m very intuitive about writing. Anything can inspire me,” Jackson said.
“This morning, I saw this lovely elderly Japanese woman walking down the streets of Hollywood wearing an adorable bonnet with bright red flowers. She might be a song.”
“I remembered an especially painful chapter in my early life last night before going to bed,” she continued. “That might be a song. I woke up this morning and heard a bird chirping in a rhythm that captivated my heart. Maybe that will turn into a new groove. Like everyone else, my feelings are fluid. My ideas are fleeting. I like to keep it that way.
“I can’t decide in advance what a song or an album concept will be. I have to let those songs and concepts come to me rather than chase them down.”