Singer Janet Jackson won the Global Icon Award Sunday night at the MTV European Music Awards held in the Bilbao Exhibition Centre, Spain. She gave an incredibly moving acceptance speech, in which she expressed her gratitude for the award and all that it represented and spoke on behalf of the women who “do not have a voice,” reported E! News.
Female artists won the majority of awards at the show, including multiple wins for Camila Cabello and Nicki Minaj. Cabello won best song, best video, best U.S. act, and best artist while Minaj won best hip-hop and best look.
The ceremony also featured performances by rapper Minaj and the British pop group Little Mix. Jackson celebrated her win with a three-song performance accompanied by drummers, torch carriers, pyrotechnic explosions, and dozens of dancers, where she sang “Made For Now,” “All for You,” and “Rhythm Nation.”
The popstar started her speech as the audience clapped and cheered her on.
“I love you guys so much. I accept this award with profound gratitude. To be called an icon is a tremendous honor, but one that comes with a tremendous responsibility. Tonight I feel moved to speak for women whose voices have been stifled. I am one of those women.”
Jackson went on to declare that she stands with her “sisters,” the “women who have been gagged, both literally and emotionally,” and called for them to stand up for justice. She continued by stating that her hope for the world was that it would continue changing and that social progress would move in the direction toward eliminating inequality.
“Women, our voices will be heard. We will be heard when we speak out for justice. Speak out for the spirit. Speak out for a spirit that crosses all borders, recognizes the dignity of all people and affirms the beauty of all faiths. Speak out for acts of true charity, small and large. Speak out for an all-embracing love. Because it’s love that will heal our wounds. Love that will give us strength to come to one and other’s aid. So, let’s lift our voices. Let’s start today and let the ever-amazing love of God lead the way. With all my heart, I thank you, God. I thank all of my fans. I love you so much.”
Other big winners of the night were Dua Lipa with best pop act, Cardi B with best new artist, and Shawn Mendes with best live act.