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Janet Jackson receives Icon Award and more Billboard Awards highlights

Miss Jackson if you’re nasty

The Billboard Awards brought some wow-worthy moments last night.

Last night’s Billboard Awards was one of the biggest nights for music. This is the awards show that focuses primarily on what an artist has done over the last year on the charts and really showcases an artists pop culture power.

Hosted by singer Kelly Clarkson, the awards show opened with the American Idol alum giving an emotional speech on the necessity of tougher gun control while paying tribute to the victims of last week’s school shooting in Texas. CNN reports the singer saying,

“I’m a Texas girl and my home state has had so much heartbreak over this past year. And once again, y’all, we’re grieving for more kids that have died for just no reason at all.”

After asking for the crowd and viewers to do more for the cause through tears, she lightened the mood by singing a medley of songs from the chart toppers of the last year, including “Finesse” by Bruno Mars and Cardi B, “Too Good at Goodbye” by Sam Smith, “My Church” by Marren Morris, “Humble.” by Kendrick Lamar and more.

The performances just continued to wow. Normani Kordei made her first appearance as a solo artist when she performed “Love Lies” alongside Khalid for the Love, Simon soundtrack.

Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato also had a debut performance of their collaboration “Fall In Line,” Dua Lipa rocked her smash hit “New Rules,” Jennifer Lopez teamed up with DJ Khaled for “Dinero” and Shawn Mendes brought the emotion to “In My Blood.”

Mendes and Khalid took the stage again, this time together, to allow the Stoneman Douglas students of Parkland, FL center stage as they performed their collaboration “Youth.”

As for the awards themselves, the winners were a reflection of the last year on the charts. Ed Sheeran took home the prize for Top Artist as well as Top Male Artist while Khalid took home Top New Artist.

The Chart Achievement award went to Camila CabelloBruno Mars won both Top R&B artist along with Top Male R&B Artist with SZA taking home the female equivalent and Chris Stapleton won both Top Country Artist as well as Top Male Country Artist.

Other winners included Kendrick Lamar, Cardi B and Maren Morris.

But the biggest highlight of the night went to the astounding Janet Jackson. The superstar was awarded the night’s highest honor: the Icon Award. The “All For You” singer performed a medley of her greatest hits including “Nasty” and “Throb.”

Upon receiving the award from Bruno Mars, the star took a moment to dedicate a portion of her speech to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements by saluting women who will no longer be “controlled, manipulated or abused.”

While Janet joins an illustrious group of artists that have shaped the music industry over the course of their careers, including Cher, Neil Diamond, Prince and Celine Dion, Janet is the first African-American woman to receive the award.

Keep up with music at Salute.

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