KEY POINTS

  • Mary J. Blige is the seventh woman to receive the Icon Award
  • Blige said she became "ghetto fabulous" when she started her music career
  • Blige is a 10-time Billboard Music Awards winner

Mary J. Blige said she had to overcome a lot of difficulties in her journey toward becoming an "icon."

"I'm in a dream right now. Thank you so much," Blige said as she took the stage to accept her Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards (BBMA) on Sunday. The event was held at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

Blige was led to the stage by BBMA host Sean "Diddy" Combs and the award was presented by her friend and fellow "Icon," Janet Jackson.

"The way the world is now, I think people think that Icons are born that way. They become a legend overnight but that is definitely not the case," the 51-year-old singer, songwriter and record producer said in her acceptance speech.

"It takes a lot of time, hard work and a lot of surviving trial and error to achieve greatness. What an icon means to me is overcoming obstacles to accomplish the unthinkable and be widely admired for having influence over a multitude of people and that is what I always represented," she added.

Blige revealed that she encountered a lot of pain on the road to success. 

"I've been on this journey for a long time, one that didn't always look the way you see me now, one that is filled with a lot of heartache and pain but God helped me to channel those experiences and emotions in my music which is where I started in music," she shared.

"Every inner city girl was recognized in their own and could relate to everything I was saying. Every female artist that came into the game wanted to emulate what I was doing. I was ghetto fabulous and I still am," she said before the audience broke into cheers. "For so long I was searching for a real love but I finally found my real love and that real love is me. Who's managing Mary J. Blige now? Me."

Blige is a 10-time BBMA winner and is the 11th artist and seventh woman to receive the Icon Award. The previous Icon Award recipients include Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Cher, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Garth Brooks and Pink.

Mary J. Blige oscar party 2018 Mary J. Blige attends the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images