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R&B music icon Mary J. Blige will be given an award befitting of her impressive list of accomplishments over the past three decades. On May 15, 2022, Blige will be honored with the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards. The “Queen of hip hop soul” is also scheduled to perform.

Wearing large sunglasses Mary J. Blige performs on stage in Miami Gardens, FL.
Mary J. Blige | Johnny Louis/Getty Images

Mary J. Blige becomes the 11th Icon Award recipient

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an icon is “a person or thing widely admired, especially for having great influence or significance in a particular sphere.” Since her debut in 1992, Mary J. Blige has defined her own genre of R&B music. Often referred to as the “queen of hip hop soul,” Blige has won numerous awards throughout her three-decade career. These include 9 Grammy Awards, 4 American Music Awards, and 10 Billboard Music Awards.

Billboard has now named her the recipient of the 2022 Icon Award. Blige will accept the award live at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 15. No stranger to this awards show, she has won 10 BBMA’s throughout her career, including 9 in 2006. 

She joins previous Icon Award recipients Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Cher, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Garth Brooks, and Pink. According to Billboard, the Icon Award “recognizes outstanding artists who have achieved excellence on the Billboard charts and have made an indelible mark on music itself.”

The ‘Queen of hip hop soul’ says she always ‘gravitated back to music’

Upon the announcement she would be receiving the Icon Award, the singer released a statement. “My career has been such an incredible and unexpected journey that has included many turns into avenues I never could have imagined like acting, producing, launching businesses, and now even my own music festival.” 

Her statement continued, “Through it all, I always one way or another gravitated back to my first love, music. To be recognized in this way at this moment, with the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards, is an incredible honor and one that I am truly humbled by.”

An accomplished actor, Blige was nominated for two Academy Awards for her work in Mudbound. In 2017, she became the first person in history to be nominated for an acting and original song award in the same year. She currently stars in the series Power Book II: Ghost.

Fresh off a Super Bowl performance, Mary J. Blige will perform at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards 

In February, Blige performed alongside Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 cent, and Kendrick Lamar at the Super Bowl halftime show. Wearing her signature thigh-high boots, Blige danced and sang her heart out at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. 

Previous recipients of the Icon Award have performed at the Billboard Music Awards, and Blige has agreed to do so as well. The rest of the performance lineup has not been announced. The Weeknd is the most nominated artist with a whopping 17 nominations. His duet with Ariana Grande, “Save Your Tears (Remix),” is a finalist for six awards. 

Doja Cat is up for 14 awards. Justin Bieber and Olivia Rodrigo are close behind with 13. The Billboard Music Awards will air live on Sunday, May 15, from Las Vegas, NV. A host has not yet been announced. 


Mary J. Blige’s Hard Work Over the Past 3 Decades Has Paid Off in a Big Way