Twenty years after entering the Billboard charts for the first time with “Quiero Bailar” (2003), Ivy Queen was honored with the Women In Music Icon award at the 2023 Billboard Women in Music on Wednesday (March 1).
The 50-year-old Puerto Rican rapper — who to date has 20 entries on Latin Rhythm Airplay chart, among other accolades — was presented with the coveted award by Bad Bunny, who during his presentation said he is the artist he is today because he has a part of Ivy Queen in his musical DNA.
“I don’t have to say much because the career and legacy of Ivy talk for itself,” he said. “When they ask me what artists have inspired me, I never know what to say because truthfully, I’m a fan of reggaetón since I was a kid, and a lot of artists have inspired me. I’ve always said that my musical DNA has a bit of all the artists and without a doubt, the strength I’ve had to be myself and be successful, to work double, is part of Ivy that I have in my musical DNA.”
He continued: “I will never know what it feels to be a woman in the industry, or in general because I’m a man but I know what it’s like to have prejudices against someone and go against the current. That’s why I say that because of Ivy, I’ve worked double to shut people’s mouths, to fight, and feeling proud of who I am the way Ivy has always shined. […] As a fan of reggaetón, I’ve waited a long time for this moment. I think that 2023 is the time when more female reggaeton exponents exist, and I don’t want to speak for her but I’m sure it’s because of the root that Ivy planted a long time ago and today we’re seeing it in the new generation of Puerto Rico that’s dominated by women.”
Dazzling in an all-silver, body-hugging gown, Queen accepted the award, giving an empowering speech.
“When I fell in love with music I found myself constantly battling to earn my spot, to earn my own lane, and to find my own identity between the guys,” she said. “The movement was underground, then turned reggaeton. I traveled around the island of Puerto Rico measuring my skills against male MCs. Bars became my self-defense mechanism. Through lyrics, I encouraged other Latinas that stand around me to stand for themself and also to not stay quiet when something hurts. I call upon all the Latin and industry women to not allow others to split us and divide us no more. … Let’s stay authentic, let’s stay healthy, let’s walk with grace, let’s laugh more but also remember that beauty is a mental attitude, and with that said, please, ladies, do not go to bed with makeup tonight, OK?”
In addition to Ivy, this year’s honorees included SZA (Billboard’s Woman of the Year); Becky G (Impact Award); Lana Del Rey (Visionary Award); Kim Petras (Chartbreaker Award); Latto (Powerhouse Award); Honda’s Rising Star Doechii; Lainey Wilson (Rulebreaker); Rosalia (Bose’s Producer of the Year Award); and K-pop group TWICE (Breakthrough Award).
Billboard’s annual Women in Music awards returned Wednesday (March 1) for the 2023 edition to honor the most influential powerhouses – including artists, creators, producers and executives — in music today who are contributing to the industry and community. The ceremony took place at the YouTube Theater at Hollywood Park in Los Angeles, and was hosted by award-winning writer-actress Quinta Brunson.