Janet Jackson brought the house down Sunday night at the Billboard Music Awards with a high-octane performance and powerful speech.
In what was described as her first televised performance in nearly a decade, Jackson wowed the celebrity-filled audience at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Wearing a shimmery gold sweater-dress and thigh-high sneaker boots, the 52-year-old pop legend opened with Nasty, then segued into If and Throb.
The audience, which included Janet’s mom Katherine Jackson and her sister Rebbie Jackson, sang along during the medley.
Following the performance, Bruno Mars presented Jackson with the 2018 Billboard Icon Award.
Previous recipients include Prince, Céline Dion, Jennifer Lopez and Cher.
Mars said Jackson is the only artist to have 18 consecutive Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and she is the first Black woman to receive the Icon Award.
Jackson released her first album, Janet Jackson, in 1982. Among her other albums are Control (1986), Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989), Damita Jo (2004) and Unbreakable (2015).
— Billboard Music Awards (@BBMAs) May 21, 2018
As the audience chanted “Janet, Janet, Janet,” she accepted the honor with a speech about compassion, love and God.
“I’m deeply humbled and grateful for this award,” Jackson said before referencing the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements against harassment and discrimination.
“I believe for all our challenges, we live at a glorious moment in history. It’s a moment when, at long last, women have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated or abused,” she continued. “I stand with those women and with those men equally outraged by discrimination who support us in heart and mind. This is also a moment when our public discourse is loud and harsh.”
She concluded by thanking God and telling the audience “everything we lack, God has in abundance.”
“My prayer is that weary of such noise we turn back to the source of all calmness. That source. That source is God,” she said to applause. “Everything we lack, God has in abundance – compassion, sensitivity, patience and boundless love.”