Moments before Janet Jackson took the stage at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night, my heart was already pounding. The montage that played after Bruno Mars ran down the long list of accomplishments that make her a bonafide icon reminded me of just how phenomenal her career has been and the anticipation of her triumphant return to television had me way more excited that I expected.
Once she came out in a super short, long-sleeved sweater and gold knee-high sneakers, I knew she came to show out, and she did.
Janet Jackson delivered a medley of hits including her 1986 chart-topper, “Nasty,” and her 1993 single, “Throb” before accepting the coveted ICON Award, an honor whose past recipients include Stevie Wonder, Cher, Prince, and Jennifer Lopez.
Check out a clip of her performance:
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After her performance earned a standing ovation from the star-studded crowd, she accepted the ICON Award and gave a powerful speech that referenced the #MeToo movement and encouraged fans to seek God during this turbulent time.
“I’m deeply humbled and grateful for this award. I believe that, for all of our challenges, we live at a glorious moment in history. It’s a moment that, 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,” she said.
“This is also a moment when our public discourse is loud and harsh. My prayer is that, weary of such noise, we will turn back to the source of all calmness, that source is God. Everything we lack, God has in abundance: compassion, sensitivity, patience and boundless love. Again I want to thank all of you for this honor and I thank God for giving me the precious energy that lets me live my life as an artist who every day seeks to expend my capacity to love.”