Beyoncé Praises Innovators – Including Stevie Wonder – for Defying ‘Any Label Placed Upon Them’

Beyonce was presented with the Innovator Award by Stevie Wonder on April 1, at the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. (Credit: YouTube)

Beyoncé paid tribute to innovators who paved the way in the music industry by defying “any label placed upon them.”

The singer-songwriter was presented with the Innovator Award by Stevie Wonder on Monday night at the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles.

During her acceptance speech at the Dolby Theater, the Cowboy Carter artist talked about the challenges that come with trying something different.

“Tonight you called me an innovator, and for that I’m very grateful,” she said. “Innovation starts with a dream. But then you have to execute that dream, and that road can be very bumpy. Being an innovator is seeing what everyone believes is impossible. Being an innovator often means being criticized, which often will test your mental strength.”

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She then recognized “all the innovators who have dedicated their lives and their art to creating shifts.”

“Thank you for your sacrifices, your powerful voices, and your dauntless spirits. Thank you to Rosetta Tharpe, Miss Tracy Chapman, Linda Martell, Prince, Stevie Wonder, André 3000, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, and so many more who defied any label placed upon them. Thank you for executing your dream so we could all follow,” she said.

Beyoncé also told Stevie Wonder she could listen to his music for the rest of her life and thanked him for playing the harmonica on her new “Jolene” cover song.

She went on to say her goal is for “all the record labels, every radio station, every award show” to be more “open to the joy and liberation that comes from enjoying art with no preconceived notions.”

The singer’s first country music album, Cowboy Carter, debuted on March 29 to positive reviews.

Watch her speech below:

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