For more than 20 years, Mary J. Blige has left her mark on the music industry, earning the title of Queen of Hip-Hop Soul for her anthemic classics and resilience in the music industry. On Thursday, she will be recognized for her contributions at Billboard‘s annual Women in Music ceremony.
Blige has inspired a generation of singers who came after her, but when she looks for strength and inspiration, the one person that comes to mind is the former first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. “The strength this woman has is so amazing because it takes a lot of strength to do what she did,” Blige said in a behind-the-scenes clip for the Billboard Women in Music shoot. “It takes a lot of courage, it takes a lot of confidence to be first lady, to be an African-American woman in that spot.”
The R&B legend will receive the prestigious Icon award at the 2017 Billboard Women In Music event, joining 2016 winner Celine Dion. Kehlani will take home the “Rule Breaker” award while other honorees, Camila Cabello and Kelly Clarkson will be awarded the “Breakthrough Artist” and “Powerhouse” award, respectively.
The 2017 Billboard Women In Music pre-show and live event will be live streamed on Twitter on Thursday starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Watch Mary J. Blige praise Michelle Obama in the video above.