Billboard has announced the Icon Award at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards will be given to none other than R&B legend Mary J. Blige. The “Queen of Hip Hop Soul” will be the 11th artist to receive the award, which “recognizes outstanding artists who have achieved excellence on the Billboard charts and have made an indelible mark on music itself.” The 10 previous recipients include Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Stevie Wonder.
“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,” Blige told Billboard in a statement. “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.”
The 9x-Grammy Award winner has also been awarded 10 Billboard Music Awards in her expansive career. She received her first BBMA in 1995 for Album of the Year for her legendary project My Life. Blige also received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BET Awards in 2019 and was deemed Icon of the Year at the 2017 Billboard Women in Music event. Billboard says Blige is also likely to be nominated for an Emmy for her Super Bowl LVI Halftime Showperformance in February.
The R&B queen will perform at the 2022 award show as well, just as all other Icon Award winners have. The Billboard Music Awards will air on Sunday (May 15) on NBC. The Weeknd and Doja Cat are this year’s top contenders. The former has been nominated in 17 categories, including Top Artist, whereas the latter has 14 nominations, including for Top Artist and Top Hot 100 Artist. Kanye West also snagged 13 nominations, including Top Christian Artist.
Check out the full list of nominees here, and watch Mary J. Blige win her first BBMA below.