Billboard’s 2022 Women In Music event took over the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, Calif., on Wednesday (March 2) evening, honoring female power players in the music industry — including Executive of the Year Golnar Khosrowshahi — as well as chart-topping newcomer Olivia Rodrigo, who is Billboard’s 2022 Woman of the Year.
From incredible performances to inspiring speeches, here are the best moments from the 2022 Billboard Women In Music event.
Ciara Sends Prayers to the Women and Girls of Ukraine
2008 Billboard Woman of the Year recipient Ciara kept the crowd entertained as the night’s host with her light-hearted jokes and cheeky demeanor. While her warmth kept everyone at ease, it was her thoughtfulness that ultimately won viewers over when she held a moment of silence for Ukraine amid Russia’s full-blown invasion.
Phoebe Bridgers Shares the Spotlight With Her Mom
Being presented her Trailblazer Award by her mother Jamie, Phoebe Bridgers made sure that her mom got her fair share of praise from the audience. Taking the majority of her speech to thank her mother, Bridgers offered a touching tribute to the woman who helped her become the star she is today, saying “she made me feel like the second coming of Bob Dylan even when my lyrics were really, really bad.”
H.E.R.’s Tribute to Her Mom
It was a big night for moms at the 2022 Women In Music event, as Impact Award honoree H.E.R. also shouted out her mother during her speech: “I want to thank my mom for teaching me to stay humble, be grounded, and be hardworking,”
Christina Aguilera Has Notes for the Teleprompter
While Xtina may not have been accepting an award during Wednesday’s ceremony, she made an appearance to commemorate her appearance on Billboard‘s World of Women NFT cover. But, in the process of explaining where the NFT would be sold, she had to stop herself, before laughing and staring at the Teleprompter, saying, “Oh s–t, that’s small.”
Gabby Barrett’s Advice
In accepting her Rising Star Award, “I Hope” singer Gabby Barrett encouraged others to not let naysayers derail their ambitions. “Some days you will want to completely give up and feel absolutely defeated, but try to use any negative comments and situations that you run into along the way as fuel to keep you going,” Barrett said.
Saweetie Is a Hurricane, Not a Meteorologist
When accepting her Game Changer award, Saweetie talked about some of the turbulence her career had gone through and thanked her family and team for sticking with her. But ultimately, she proclaimed that she still preferred the “uncomfortable position” of stardom — because she “would rather be changing the weather than report it.”
Olivia Rodrigo Makes a Promise to the Younger Generation
Toward the end of her acceptance speech for Woman of the Year, Olivia Rodrigo alluded to the difficulties of being a young woman in the music industry, and delivered a guarantee to the even younger female songwriters who might be watching. “To all the young girls out there who are writing songs every day in their journals, on their bedroom floors — I am constantly moved by your vulnerability and your creativity and bravery,” she said. “And I promise everyone here today is working to make this world and this industry a better place for you.”
Bonnie Raitt’s Prayer for Peace
Icon Award honoree Bonnie Raitt used both her performance and acceptance speech to recognize the crisis in Ukraine. After delivering “Angel From Montgomery,” she dedicated the set to “the women of Ukraine.” Later in the evening, while accepting the award, the 10-time Grammy winner said, “My heart is heavy for the people of Ukraine, and I know the Russian people are not in agreement – so many of them – with what’s being done. I pray for all the people who are working hard for peace.”
Executive of the Year Golnar Khosrowshahi’s Hope for the Future
The 2022 Billboard Women In Music Executive of the Year, Reservoir Media CEO Golnar Khosrowshahi, shared her hope for the future of women in the music industry: “I encourage us all to continue to recruit, to mentor and cultivate the next generation of female leaders within our respective organizations so that one day, recognizing women in leadership roles will be the expectation and not a necessity.”
Summer Walker Keeps It Light
Before fully launching into her Chart Breaker acceptance speech, Walker had the audience in stitches, saying, “I’m not really the one for speeches. I like to keep it cute and quick, but today I’m not,” promptly pulling out a slip of paper from bra.
Doja Cat Wants That Necklace NOW
Doja’s humor was on display as she accepted the night’s Powerhouse Award. After taking to the stage for a performance of Planet Her track “Alone,” she accepted the honor and jokingly mused on her plans to break open the award just to get to the Maggi Simpkins-designed necklace inside, because “that’s what girls do.”
Karol G’s Gorgeous Performance
Before accepting her Rule Breaker award during the ceremony, Karol G offered one of the night’s many ballads, with a gorgeous, understated version of “El Barco.” As Karol G held court center stage, dressed in her signature style, her performance was a study in contrast, as she was flanked by a sharply suited, all-female backing band.